For many in the United States, the war in Ukraine is not a distant news story or international crisis played out on the world stage but instead an intensely personal calamity that engulfed them and their children only months, weeks or even days ago. They are still living that war every day waiting to hear word about the fate of their husbands, fathers, families and friends who are still enduring the onslaught of the Russian invasion in Ukraine. For a few hours in Coronado recently, a large group of moms and their children were able to gather together, enjoy each other’s company and celebrate their day in a beautiful beach-side setting.
More than one hundred Ukrainian refugees were able to celebrate Mother’s Day at the Coronado Shores Roeder Pavilion thanks to the generosity of donors, hosts and organizers during a day filled with food, music, games and reminders of home. The event was just a part of a growing movement by the people of Coronado to support Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees.
“It was an incredible day and the turnout was both stunning and inspiring” said Tim Chelling, the Coronado resident who hosted the event at the Shores. “The event far exceeded our wildest expectations and the organizers who helped make it all happen worked hard to make this a day to remember for these amazing moms and their children. The courage of these people is remarkable and the stories they tell of their journeys here are both harrowing and awe inspiring.”
Coronado City Council Member Carrie Downey took time out of her busy Mother’s Day to greet the families on behalf of the City of Coronado, saluting the mothers for their bravery and dedication to their children. “We admire your courage and greet you on this Mother’s Day while we all also pray for an end to this terrible war,” said Downey.
The organizers of the event, Slavics.org, received support from donors and businesses throughout the San Diego community. Starbucks in Coronado donated coffee, and Dominos in San Diego provided pizza for the children. Host families around San Diego provided transportation and support as well.
The founder and Executive Director of Slavics.org, Krystsina Shchelkunova, said the organization has been helping to support Ukrainian families, the vast majority of whom are mothers and their children, with an all-volunteer force and little or no funding since the war began. Dozens of refugee families have been placed with host families throughout San Diego while many more are being assisted while they legally navigate the programs and assistance provided to help those who have fled the ongoing war.
“The generosity of Coronado always becomes evident during the toughest of times for people in need,” said Chelling. “These refugee families who are fleeing the war in Ukraine saw and felt that generosity first hand here on Mother’s Day.”
Anyone wishing to help Ukrainian refugees or donate to the cause can do so through the website slavics.org or by calling 858-260-9498.