SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Since the all-out Russian invasion of Ukraine began nearly two weeks ago, thousands across Northern California have begun offering support for the people of Ukraine.
The colors blue and yellow, which adorn the Ukrainian flag are seen lighting up the state capitol building, the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium, and Thunder Valley Casino.
Meanwhile, area businesses have started collecting donations or sending proceeds from sales to Ukrainian refugees. Sacramento’s Freeport Bakery made hundreds of blue and yellow cookies, cupcakes, and other pastries whose sales are being donated to the humanitarian efforts there.
The Sacramento region is home to one of America’s largest Slavic and Ukrainian communities, with large-scale immigration happening during the Russian revolution.
There are an estimated 100 Ukrainian churches in the region, many of which have begun to collect cash and other donations to help efforts overseas. The Roseville, California-based First Ukrainian Baptist Church of Sacramento has already raised $25,000.
The church's Senior Pastor Valentine Vavrynyuk, a Ukrainian native, says the displays of support for the Ukrainian people by Americans are overwhelming.
“When we give this money, these people like cry like a child,” Vavrynyuk said. “They say oh thank you, it’s very important for us.”
They’re also collecting clothes, medicine, and other items they will later ship overseas. They’re told cash can help to purchase items in Europe immediately, while other donations will be shipped and used as the war drags on.
Four staff members from Spring of Life Church in Orangevale went to the Poland-Ukraine border to help those fleeing to safety. A Spring of Life fundraiser has raised more than $76,000 for efforts there.