Neighbors at the Seven Oaks housing estate near 24 Mile and Shelby roads make beaded pins on April 2 that they plan to sell at the Ukraine Humanitarian Aid fundraiser from 5-9 p.m. on April 8 at the Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township.
TOWNSHIP OF SHELBY — The Palazzo Grande Banquet Center in the Township of Shelby hosted a pasta dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. on April 8 to help provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
100% of the profits will go to humanitarian aid in Ukraine. The banquet center works with the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America Detroit Regional Council, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has provided humanitarian relief in the United States and Ukraine since 1925. The council regional has nine Michigan branches.
UNWLA is a national organization with regional councils throughout the United States
Jimmy and Danielle Lahood, owners of the Palazzo Grande, said they were devastated to see the human suffering caused by the war in Ukraine. Over the years, Danielle had developed a warm friendship with Yuliya and Victor Tkachenko, a Ukrainian couple who teach ballroom dancing at a local Fred Astaire dance school. When Danielle contacted them, concerned about the situation unfolding in Ukraine, they told her of the ordeal their family had endured fleeing the war.
“It took them 35 hours by train to get to safety and then finally to Germany. Victor’s 64-year-old father decided to stay and fight for his country. Our thoughts are with them and all the refugees fleeing the devastation to get to a safe place with very few basic needs,” Danielle Lahood said in an email interview.
The Lahoods contacted the Detroit Regional Council of the Ukrainian Women’s National League of America and offered to start a fundraiser for humanitarian aid to Ukraine, taking nothing to cover their costs and labor and in donating 100% of profits to Ukraine.
Ulana Kushner, a member of the Detroit Regional Council of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, said the council just had to do something to give to those in need in Ukraine.
“We had to do something to help,” she said in an email interview.
Helping refugees is something the league has done throughout its history.
“Our Detroit Council has been instrumental in supporting World War II refugees and resettling them in our area. Many of the women in our organization working on this project were World War II refugees themselves,” Kushner said. “Some of us are their children. We also have many members who have immigrated from Ukraine since Ukraine’s independence in 1991. We all have family in Ukraine.
She has family members in Ukraine who have left their home to live with other family members in a safer area.
“My family was evacuated from their home near Lviv airport. They stay with other family members on the other side of town where it is safer. They volunteer at the distribution warehouses that repackage humanitarian aid from Poland (food, medicine and supplies) to be shipped to cities in the interior of Ukraine. They put in 10-12 hours a day and are happy to be too busy to think about themselves and the war around them,” Kushner said.
She said it was “surreal” to see images on TV and on social media today that reflected images of what it was like for her parents.
“My heart breaks for the people who are forced to leave everything behind. We have to do everything we can to help these people. They are who we were 75 years ago – we cannot let them down,” she said.
Kushner said that to date, the National Ukrainian Women’s League of America has raised more than $3 million nationwide for humanitarian aid to Ukraine. She said that in the first two weeks of March:
• Over $400,000 was raised.
• $80,000 was sent to AICM, a Kyiv-based non-governmental organization whose 700 volunteers provide aid in the cities of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Poltava, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia, Odessa and Luhansk, serving tens of thousands of people in need of water.
• $40,000 was sent to four military hospitals in Kyiv, Lviv, Dnipro and Zhytomyr.
• $40,000 was used to purchase 600 individual first aid kits and 100 blood transfusion kits to distribute to hospitals in need.
• The New Jersey Hospital Association has reached out to its 108 member hospitals across the state who are stepping up to help Ukraine.
• $10,000 was given to Initiative E+ with whom UNWLA was working to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and which quickly modified its operations to meet the needs for tactical and general medical supplies.
• UNWLA financed an orphanage in Pokrovsk to facilitate his evacuation to Lviv and then to Poland.
The Palazzo Grande is located at 54660 Van Dyke Ave., just south of 25 Mile Road, in Shelby Township. The Pasta Dinner Fundraiser has a suggested donation of $15 for ages 13 and up. Children up to 12 years old can eat for free.
All funds raised in Michigan by the Detroit Area Council and its branches will be sent to the national headquarters of the Ukrainian Women’s National League of America, which coordinates where the funds will be distributed.
The organizers encourage people to bring their families and friends. Participants can notify the organizers of the number of participants at [email protected] For more information, visit www.UNWLA.org.
For those unable to attend the dinner but would like to donate, checks can be sent to UNWLA Detroit, 27040 Ryan Road, Warren, MI 48092. Write “Humanitarian Aid” in the memo line.