Standing Strong: Supporting Ukrainian Families in Times of Crisis

Hello, dear friends of Anna Balkan Jewelry,

Today, I want to share a deeply personal story that connects my past in Ukraine with the present, and how, with your incredible support, we've been able to make a difference for families affected by the recent events in Ukraine.

I am from a small town in Ukraine called Vinnitsa, and my journey led me to the United States as a political refugee a bit over 30 years ago. The date of that departure was February 24, 1992, all I had was $100 in hand, 1 small bag with everything I was allowed to bring, measured and weighed to a standard allowance, and no English. Just me with bravery of youth and hope for a better life.

Over these years, America has become my home, and my Ukrainian roots often felt like a distant memory. However, on February 24, 2022, the dark clouds of war descended upon Ukraine, casting a shadow on what should have been a celebration of three decades in America.

As news of the conflict reached us, the pain in my heart was overwhelming. The stories of women and children forced to flee, leaving behind homes and belongings, resonated deeply with me. It was an injustice that moved me and my Ukrainian friend Nadia to action. With your unwavering support, we initiated a fundraising effort to aid families escaping Ukraine, a network that expanded rapidly.

Starting with a friend's family who had seven siblings fleeing Kiev, our network grew to encompass my childhood friends, acquaintances, and referrals from those who received assistance. The response from Ukrainian families we were helping was humbling. Families reached out, redirecting funds to others they felt needed it more. With your generosity, we were able to support around 30 families during the first year of the war, providing essential resources, hope, and a sense of security. I’m the winter months of 2023, we collected clothing and other winter essentials to send to people of Kiev.

As many of these families return to Ukraine in Spring of 2023 to rebuild their lives amidst the challenging circumstances, we find ourselves standing strong with the commitment to help anew. In October, we identified a new family – a young couple with a two-year-old daughter and a family dog – in need of support to get back on their feet.

This blog serves as a call to action, an invitation for you to join us once again in fundraising for this family. The funds will go towards their basic necessities, English classes, and other essential expenses. You'll find the link to our Ukrainian fundraiser, where 100% of the contributions directly reach those in need.

I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for your past and continued support. Every purchase, donation, and kind gesture have made a tangible impact. Your generosity is felt across borders, connecting us in a shared commitment to helping those facing adversity.

Stay tuned for upcoming events in-store and online to further contribute to this cause. With warmth and gratitude, thank you for being a vital part of our community.

Warm regards,

Anna Balkan

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