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Local Woman Helps Fund Medical Supplies in Ukraine

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New Yorkers with roots in Ukraine have been keeping a close eye on what's going on in their native country, with at least one local woman also raising money and awareness about the situation. NY1's Polly Kreisman filed the following report.

Inside the Sly Fox, a Ukrainian bar on Second Avenue, bartender Iryna Vitkovska has been in the U.S. for seven years. She says that after watching the violence in her home country on television, she had to do something.

"The most number of people died on Tuesday," Vitkovska said. "I felt helpless and guilty being here and not helping."

She wanted to raise money for medical supplies in Ukraine, so she posted her idea on Facebook, saying she would donate her tips for one night to fund medical supplies in Kiev.

"I thought if I created a fundraiser that will be not pressuring people, no admission, no fees, no complimentary drinks, just my own tips, so that's what I did," Vitkovska said.

The idea spread through the community like wildfire.

"We collected $2,550," Vitkovska said.

The money went online to a donation site that is aggregating a number of relief efforts in Ukraine.

Marina Kotovska, a waitress in the bar, says she knows it will still be a long time before life gets back to normal there.

"I have a friend in Kiev. She said she cannot go to work. Subways not running," Kotovska said. "She can't get out of Kiev because they blocked the exit and entrance of Kiev. She cannot go to the south to see her parents."

Yet in the neighborhood known as Little Ukraine Friday night, many people in the ethnic restaurants, bars or just walking by said that they feel hopeful that change is coming from half a world away.

For more information on the fundraiser, visit www.helpeuromaidan.info/donate.

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