Stasia and Oleh Skrypczuk have been sending care packages and funds through MoneyGram to help their family members living in the Ukraine since the Russian invasion last month.
The war between Russia and Ukraine has been tough to watch from afar for the couple. They both wanted to do more to help out.
Then, a surge of inspiration came to both of them, as Stasia Skrypczuk would say. That inspiration was to create a rally in support of Ukraine in Bordentown.
On March 13, over 300 people came out to the Carslake Community Center to join Stasia and Oleh for a Ukrainian Support Rally that featured many different unifying festivities.
Guests could be seen singing American and Ukrainian songs together in unison, while local members from the Ukrainian National House of Trenton spoke out at the rally about togetherness and said prayers for all those being affected by the war.
“I think it went really well,” Stasia Skrypczuk said of the Bordentown Ukrainian Support Rally. “For a little town, we had a lot of people come out in the rain to show their support. I was really happy about it.”
The event was originally supposed to take place on March 12 outside at Bordentown Beach, but poor weather conditions pushed the rally back a day.
As a result of the rain and snow the day before, there were many puddles on the beach still as Stasia, Oleh and the rest of their helping hands began setting up the event.
Thankfully, Stasia Skrypczuk said that Bordentown City Commissioner James Lynch was able to get permission for them to move the rally inside to the community center.
The purpose of the rally was to stand in solidarity for those in Ukraine that have been going through various hardships since Russia began its military attack on the country last month, Stasia Skrypczuk said.
The rally was also set up by Stasia and Oleh for people to learn about different avenues they could use to help out, whether that was writing letters to local state politicians about their opinions on the war or finding different platforms to use for donations.
“Went wanted to give people a place to vent and support the awareness,” Stasia Skrypczuk said. “This was not a fundraiser. It was something to bring awareness to the cause and give people the chance to offer their support through different types of action.”
Speakers on hand from the Ukrainian National House of Trenton were President Oleg Ridzanych and Pastor Taras Lonchyna of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Trenton, who guided the audience in prayer for all those being affected by the war.
Bordentown City Mayor Jennifer Sciortino was also among those who spoke at the rally.
Stasia’s sister, Christine Popso, led the audience in prayers as well during the event.
What made the rally even more special to Stasia Skrypczuk was the amount of different cultures represented by the people who attended the rally.
“We had folks that were there from Columbia, Austria, Puerto Rico, Czechoslovakia, Chile, Italy,” Stasia Skrypczuk said. “It was true international support.”
After prayers were recited and songs were sung, Stasia Skrypczuk ended the rally with her own rendition of “God Bless America.”
Next to Stasia was Oleh playing the violin and their brother-in-law, Ritchie Popso, behind them on the accordion.
As Stasia Skrypczuk belted out the words of the song, she said she could feel everyone else in the community center singing along with her in unison.
The love that the Bordentown community was showing for living in America had become the rallying cry for them to help those in the midst of war in Ukraine. In the spirit of song and prayer, Bordentown was showing that Ukraine is in their hearts and that they are here to help those stranded there and hurting during these hard times of need.
“It was the highlight of the rally,” Stasia Skrypczuk said. “Everyone was standing and singing together. It was really beautiful to see.”
More events to support Ukraine will be held in Bordentown this weekend. A “Stand with Ukraine” benefit concert will be held on March 18 at Bordentown Regional High School, featuring many different musicians and artists from around the area.
The benefit concert will be used to raise funds for medical supplies that will be shipped to Hospitallers, a volunteer group of paramedics on the ground in the Ukraine who are in desperate need of supplies to treat the injured.
Tickets for the event are $20. To purchase tickets for the event or make a donation towards the cause, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/donate-here-to-support-stand-with-ukraine-project-tickets-295484681637.