Chicagoans house Ukrainian refugees, donate Easter baskets to those displaced: 'It's like a miracle'

ByStephanie Wade WLS logo
Friday, April 22, 2022
Chicagoans house Ukrainian refugees, donate Easter baskets
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Chicagoans are housing Ukrainian refugees and donated Easter baskets to those displaced as war between Russia and Ukraine continues.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As Ukrainian-Americans prepared for Easter weekend, Ksenia Hankewych was collecting beautifully embroidered baskets for those fleeing their war-torn country.

"I'm pretty sure that the refugees that came from Ukraine recently didn't come with any baskets or any traditional Ukrainian embroidery. And this is something that is very important to Ukrainian culture," said Hankewych, who is Ukrainian-American.

She hopes the donated baskets and embroidery provide a little piece of home around this Easter holiday.

"People are very grateful. Some people said that they didn't think they were going to celebrate this year, and so I found that to be very just heartwarming that people will be able to celebrate even during these difficult times," said Hankewych.

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Lori Wyatt is housing a displaced Ukrainian.

"He has nothing now. I mean he came here with what he was wearing that was it and that's got to be just incredibly hard," Wyatt said. "I said, 'Sure where is he? We'll come get him.'"

Lori Wyatt has opened her home to Dmytro Usov, who fled Ukraine last month. As someone who's adopted two children from Ukraine, she said she felt called to help.

"First time when I come in the United States, it's like a miracle for me," Usov said.

Usov said he left his country with only a backpack. His father decided to stay.

"My home right now is nothing good. Part of town is destruction. A lot of people died," Usov said.

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Chicagoans have been wrapping their arms around those displaced.

"If everyone does just a little bit, it can help ease the pain of all these people and what they're going through," Wyatt said.

Hankewych echoed Wyatt's statement.

"Just willing to help and really want them to feel welcome in our neighborhood, in our cities and in our country, and so we'll do anything to help them," Wyatt said.