GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. (KDVR) – As the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its ninth week, seven Coloradans, all with relatives still living in the war-torn country, have launched a local non-profit to more efficiently help their suffering compatriots from afar.
The Ukraine Aid Fund was created in early April by seven Ukrainian-Americans, all with differing career backgrounds, who felt that simply mailing their loved ones various forms of aid was not efficient enough.
”The thing that we all struggle with here is that we’re so far away and we feel useless and helpless because our family is there,” explained Alina Tatkov, one of the founding members of the non-profit. “This has finally given us a purpose and we feel like we’re doing something to help them.”
Tatkov was born in Donbas, where the Ukrainian conflict erupted back in 2014. She moved to Tyler, Texas, at 13 to attend school. She would return to her home every summer until her father passed away before the 2014 conflict broke out. She has not returned to her hometown since.
“My mom said it the best way: They stole our home, and now they’re stealing the graves of our family members,” Tatkov said. Her father was buried in Donbas.
For the founders of the Ukraine Aid Fund, the first few weeks of the conflict were highlighted by messages full of requests for various forms of aid after all Ukrainian men aged 60 and under were drafted.
“We were messaged from family members that there’s 36 of us standing here and three of us have a vest, and we rotate it,” Tatkov explained. “We give people options to donate to support, not the military, but the territorial defense forces.”
By flying directly to Eastern Europe, as opposed to shipping it, Ukraine Aid Fund uses its social network to get the resources and aid across the Polish-Ukrainian border and into the hands of those who need it in the immediacy.
To date, Taktov said the Ukraine Aid Fund has managed to purchase and deliver three vehicles and a batch of 15 bulletproof vests to those serving in these territorial defense forces, which are primarily made up of conscripted residents and are not officially part of the Ukrainian army.
Ukrainian Aid Fund bake sale
On Saturday, all seven founding members will be working a Ukrainian bake sale, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Metro Brokers Real Estate’s office, located at 8480 E. Orchard Road, Suite 3000, in Greenwood Village.
There will be greeters at the door who will direct all attendees to the third floor, where Ukrainian delicacies, all provided by local Ukrainian bakeries and volunteers, will be available for purchase. Also, with Sunday being Ukrainian Orthodox Easter, they will be selling traditional Ukrainian Easter baskets.
3 ways you can donate to Ukrainian Aid Fund
Visitors of the non-profit’s website will see the option to donate broken down into three categories, those being:
According to the organizer, they understand that not everyone feels comfortable giving tactical support, but there are many needs not being addressed in the region.
“One of the goals we discussed is that we want this organization to have open doors for anyone who has an idea on how to get things, what to get to Ukraine, how to help, how to raise funds,” Taktov explained. “We’re open to that. We want everyone to join.”
Future Ukrainian Aid Fund events
On May 14, a benefit concert, headlined by former Eurovision winner, Zlata Ognevich, will be held at the Gaylord Rockies Resort. The proceeds will go entirely to the fund.
They are also working to put together a marathon and have also been gathering art created by Ukrainian artists since the start of the war, which they will auction off.
“We pray for Ukraine and we are very blessed to be living here,” Tatkov told FOX31, “and to have all the safety and opportunities here, I just hope that everyone here understands that and values that.”
If you are unable to financially give, then you are able to sign up to volunteer and work at some of these events.