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Local restaurant raising money to help Ukrainians

Support continues to pour in across western Massachusetts for the people of Ukraine as tensions continue to escalate with Russia.
Published: Feb. 28, 2022 at 3:11 PM EST
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Support continues to pour in across western Massachusetts for the people of Ukraine as tensions continue to escalate with Russia.

At Crepe’s Tea Cafe in West Springfield, many employees come from an eastern European background. We spoke with one who is from Ukraine and still has family back home, as well as owners who are fundraising to support their coworkers and help those in need.

“It’s just hard to say, hard to share this feeling,” said Petro Smoliarchuk.

Smoliarchuk moved to the United States from Ukraine less than a decade ago and his heart is with his immediate family living in Ukraine now under attack by Russian forces.

“When I talk to them, they say we just heard this bombing like 5-10 minutes next to us…They’re hiding in the basements whenever they can find it because they cannot just leave the city,” Smoliarchuk explained.

Smoliarchuk attended a rally in Washington D.C. and a protest in Boston over the weekend.

“What touched my heart is not only I saw Ukrainians, a lot of nationalities,” Smoliarchuk added.

At Crepes Tea Cafe where he works, they’re working with local churches and donating a portion of their proceeds twice a week to families, like Smoliarchuk’s, in need.

“It’s gonna be twice a week, Monday and Friday. Whatever sales we got, it’s not gonna be just to one church, it’s going to be to multiple organizations,” said Arturas Ribinskas, part-owner of Crepes Tea Café.

That includes people across the border in Poland who are working to house refugees.

Western Mass News caught up with customers who stopped by Crepes on Monday to help step up and give back.

“This is my favorite place…I’m so happy that I can be part of that to help with the proceeds,” said Crystal Agvent of Enfield, CT.

Crepes general manager Monika Jasinska told us her family in Poland is taking in refugees and she’s checking in on her Ukrainian coworkers who she called family.

“We’re just so close and we love spending time together, so I feel like this just makes me even more proud of the place that it is today,” Jasinksa said.

If you want to help the cause, Crepes has locations in West Springfield and Southwick.