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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It’s not straightforward seeing a number of the pictures coming from the conflict in Ukraine. And it’s particularly robust for Ukrainians who reside within the U.S. and nonetheless have household within the conflict zone.
Olga and Nick Nikolayenko moved to the U.S. from Ukraine about 5 years in the past. Now Olga is a florist in Charlotte, North Carolina, and has discovered a means to assist their dwelling nation from afar.
The couple says they had been shocked when the conflict began, however finally realized they should keep it up with regular life as finest they will.
“Sept. 11 going on every day — that’s the feeling,” Olga mentioned.
For Olga, operating her floral enterprise, known as Livilove Flowers, isn’t high of thoughts proper now. As an alternative, she and Nick are considering of household and mates in Ukraine.
“You’re like. Okay. It’s 50/50 they die or survive,” Nick mentioned.
“Your hometown, you’re looking at this, and of course, it’s really scary,” Olga mentioned.
A lot of Olga’s household continues to be in Kyiv. They’ve common telephone check-ins.
“Has the house been shelled or have you heard anything next to the house?” Nick asks usually.
Nick isn’t any stranger to dwelling close to battle. He’s from the not too long ago annexed Donbas area. Shortly earlier than he moved to the states, Nick says two of his shut mates had been killed “when the shell landed right in front of them,” he described.
Thus far, the Nikolayenko’s household is protected. Actually, Olga’s mother, Galina Kucher, works with the Ukrainian chapter of Operation Blessing, a U.S.-based humanitarian group that helps convey meals, garments and drugs to refugees.
She helped a bunch unload three semi-trucks filled with donations that arrived on the western border of Ukraine final week.
“We’ve helped over 10,000 people,” Kucher instructed Each day Submit by way of Zoom.
Again in Charlotte, Olga is promoting particular bouquets with all earnings benefiting Operation Blessing. The bouquets are blue and yellow, mimicking the Ukrainian flag. In addition they characteristic sunflowers, the nation’s official flower.
“If we will do small things, everyone, we will change the world,” Olga mentioned.
The particular bouquets can solely be delivered within the Charlotte space, however Olga says plenty of folks have donated cash with out asking for flowers.