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Pierre Ukrainian native raises money for humanitarian efforts

Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 8:38 AM MDT
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PIERRE, S.D. - Nataliya Rezek has lived exactly half her life in South Dakota, and half her life in Ukraine.

“I grew up in western Ukraine, it was a smaller town for Europe, about 300,000.”

Now, with Russia invading the country she once called home, Rezek watches with dismay, worried about family and friends still living in the country.

“My father is eighty years old... Sometimes he has to go to the cold basement, and sit on the floor for five hours because the air alarm sirens go off.”

It is for that reason Nataliya decided to take action, asking her friends to donate their weekly coffee to humanitarian efforts currently ongoing in Ukraine.

“I have seen several posts on Facebook from my friends in the Ukraine, that they are raising money for military uniforms, money for warm meals, potatoes, flashlights, baby formula,” Rezek explained. “I connected with these people and asked what can I do for my part? Because here I am in my nice warm bed and I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, because I feel like I need to be doing something.”

What started out as an effort to raise $1,000 quickly turned into much more, thanks to the generosity of South Dakotans.

Nataliya has collected nearly $10,000 from people across the state of South Dakota in as little as a week of time.

Something for which she says she is incredibly grateful.

“I would just say if you can donate $10 or $20, your coffee money, wine money, pocket money... But if you can’t donate because of the economy, then just pray. Pray that this madness ends soon.”

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