After Russia successfully invaded and took control of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, Voices of Children was formed to help children psychologically affected by armed conflict.
Now, eight years later, the group is still working to provide art therapy, mobile psychologists, and other support to traumatized kids.
Thursday night, Philadelphia-based FCM Hospitality will host a fundraiser for Voices of Children to give local diners a chance to help. From 5 to 7 p.m. FCM’s Craft Hall will host “Support Ukraine,” with smoked barbecue and pizza available as well as local brews. Ukrainian-born Philly resident DJ IRKA will feature traditional and native Ukrainian dance music.
“Ukraine needs support more than ever,” Voices of Children posted on their Facebook page. “February 24 turned the lives of millions of Ukrainians. Russian aggression broke into every home… Our foundation is deploying active support for refugees and needs your support.”
Earlier this week, the UN estimated that more than 500,000 people have already escaped Ukraine as Russian bombing intensified. Long lines of cars and buses were backed up at checkpoints at the borders of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Moldova. Others crossed the borders on foot, walking their way to safety in the west.
Philadelphia has seen several protests against Russia’s invasion including hundreds who turned out last weekend outside Independence Hall in a rally organized by Ulana Mazurkevich, the Ukrainian American Community Committee, and the Ukrainian Human Rights Committee.
The region has a sizable population of people born in Ukraine. Philadelphia itself is home to around 6,900 people born in Ukraine, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. The regional community estimate for the entire Delaware Valley is much larger, north of 60,000 people. It’s a mixture of families descended from post-WWII refugees, those who fled following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and more recent religious refugees, among others.