BRIGHTEN – Volunteers from a pair of organizations assisted by two Brighton-linked residents of Ukraine have collected 11,000 meals this week, which they plan to send to refugees from the war in Eastern Europe.
Volunteers from Executive Wealth Managementcombined with Ohio based Lifeline Christian Mission, will send food to refugees arriving in Poland and Romania. Brighton couple Nick Deichakowski and Oksana Pronych were among those who collected food to, in their opinion, personal.
Local efforts are an attempt to alleviate the suffering of people fleeing Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine. The United Nations said this week millions of Ukrainians had either fled the country or been displaced.
“It’s so exciting to see people of good will who may not have ties to Ukraine, but are still willing to give their time and their prayers for our country,” said Deichakivsky, the son of Ukrainian refugees from World War II. .
Pronych, who was born in Ukraine and whose brother-in-law is at war with Russian forces, said the attack was evil.
“My heart aches every day,” she said. – Thank you for helping my country so sincerely. We have to win this war. We do not want this evil to spread further. “
Although he was born in Cleveland, Deichakivsky said, 77 years ago, in 1945, his grandfather had to flee the Soviets, which were part of western Ukraine. He said his mother and aunt were just two little girls.
“This is a story with refugees who have to leave. Surprisingly, it is repeated in 77 years,” he said.
Deichakovsky and Pronych met in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, in the late 1990s, when Deichakovsky worked there with Charles Stuart Mott Foundation. The couple moved to Brighton in 2003, where they have lived ever since.
Despite the fact that they no longer live in Ukraine, Deichakivsky said, the couple often visits. Just in October, they went to visit members of the Pronych family who still live there, including her sisters, brother-in-law and niece.
Pronych’s sister and their niece were forced to flee the war, as were many others. According to Deichakovsky, they are traveling with another duo of mother and daughter. However, Pronych’s brother-in-law remained in Ukraine and served in the Territorial Defense Forces – the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
“Everyone is worried about him, although he is a guy who really knows how to watch himself,” said Deichakovsky. “He defends his own very hard, so I know he won’t leave, even if he had the chance.”
Let’s get to work
This week, Pronych and Deichakivsky worked together with individuals from the Christian mission Lifeline and Executive Wealth Management to pack food.
“It’s nice to do something, like physical and material. Do what you can participate in. Call it a Dena release with the expression “I can do something this way,” Deichakivsky said. “It’s done differently.”
Audrey Norman, vice president for generosity and charity of the Christian mission Lifeline, is associated with Executive Wealth Management through a mutual friend in the company.
Executive Wealth Management staff and others took a break from their work day, donned hair nets and gloves and received instructions on how to pack different dishes.
One station was set up on a conveyor belt to fill bags of dry oatmeal ingredients. While another station focused on eating dehydrated vegetables, yellow powder filled with 21 vitamins and minerals, steamed beans and rice.
When the bags were filled, the volunteer collected it, weighed it to make sure it dropped 390 to 395 grams, sealed the food package, put it in a tray and later packed everything in a box. One meal is expected to feed six people, while the box includes 216 meals.
Lifeline’s Christian Mission supports organizations around the world, including in nine different countries. In March, they dedicated all their cooking activities to supporting Ukrainian refugees.
“It’s not a solution to the problem in the long run. We know it’s a temporary relief. A lot of the food we send around the world is meant for things like natural disasters or crises, and that’s a lot of what we do,” he said. said Norman. . “It’s not about replacing what people can do for themselves. We really, really believe in the dignity of people and exalt people so they can do in community for each other.”
“We dedicate all our food centers to Ukrainian refugees, so we are fully inspired by you and your country, your people and your president,” Norman told Pronych and Deichakovsky. “I think I can speak for everyone when we say that it is just a testimony to all of us of strength and perseverance, loyalty and devotion, so we are here to represent and just be hands and feet to help people and love people. ”
The importance of return
Executive Wealth Management, located at 135 W. North St., Ste. 1, provides financial planning, capital management, tax preparation and legal advice to families, individuals and business owners.
“Our core values are trust, community, compassion. We firmly believe in the return of the community, especially in the communities that serve us. We give our employees time to serve,” said CEO and co-owner Michael Lay. “We give everyone the allotted number of hours they can use. We encourage them to use everything. Some don’t, but again that’s why we’re trying to provide opportunities.”
How can you help
According to Deichakovsky, 3.5 million people have fled violence in Ukraine, and another 6.5 million are internally displaced.
“Everything you do and can do to help is greatly appreciated,” he said.
One of the resources he encourages locals to do is Ukrainian-American Michigan Crisis Response Committee website.
He also asks area residents to write to their members of Congress and the White House and ask them to do everything they can.
“It’s really so touching and heartwarming. It is clear that we, Ukrainians, feel this for our people, but it is really a global struggle now. This is a critical moment to try to stop not only for Ukraine, not only for Europe, but for the whole world, ”he said.
“We are at the crossroads of history. It depends on which way we will go, and everything will go in this direction, ”Pronych added.