Maplewood fair, ‘Village to Village,’ to support Ukraine

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — St. Joseph’s Church, The United Tastes of America and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Holy Ascension will present “Village to Village: a Maplewood Village Fair Supporting Ukraine” at St. Joseph’s Church, 767 Prospect St. in Maplewood, on Sunday, June 5, from 3 to 7 p.m. The event will feature a special concert by the 136-year-old German choir Schwäbischer Sängerbund and attendees will be able to eat pierogies, drink Ukrainian craft beer, enjoy live music, and buy homemade Ukrainian baked goods and crafts. The choir, which is based in Clark, will perform from 4 to 5 p.m.

Proceeds from the event will support the grassroots relief efforts of Ukrainians here in New Jersey to support two communities in Ukraine to whom they are directly connected. Funds will directly support humanitarian efforts, especially medicine and shelter, in the Ukrainian cities of Stryy and Chernihiv.

“We often think our neighbors are right next door. Sometimes they are but many times they are far away. Here our neighbors are in need right here in Maplewood. So are the people of Ukraine. Jesus asked us to love our neighbors. This is a great way to do that,” said the Rev. James Worth of St. Joseph’s Church. 

Chernihiv is the hometown of Holy Ascension congregant Olena Kondryshyn, who coordinates ongoing relief.

“In the first week I was paralyzed,” Kondryshyn said. “I was on the phone with my relatives who were trying to escape from Chernihiv. There was bombing and so much stress. Then I decided that this fear will not help. We need to do something right now. We are far away, but we are together in this war. This is how we can fight.” 

The Rev. Sviatoslav Hot of Holy Ascension has translated messages of support from Maplewood and South Orange residents to his friends and family in Ukraine. 

“People in Ukraine appreciate the help and efforts of this hardworking town. It is important to know that there are such kind people,” Hot said.

“We are all in this war together. And I believe that together we can help good win against evil,” Kondryshyn said.