'I know exactly what they need': Pierre woman raises $30k for Ukrainian relief efforts
As family members serve in frontlines of Russian invasion, Nataliya Rezek turns to South Dakota neighbors
PIERRE – A Ukrainian who calls the state capital city home has raised tens of thousands of dollars for war relief efforts in her home country.
And Nataliya Rezek credits the outpouring of support to the graciousness of South Dakotans, who despite living thousands of miles from the conflict have shown a willingness to help that she says is second to none.
Shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in early 2022 — a lasting war that’s reported to have killed more than 9,000 Ukrainian civilians — Rezek began fundraising to send critical supplies back to Ukraine.
What started with a seemingly-ambitious goal to send a few hundred dollars worth of support back to Eastern Europe ended up being a massive community effort. Rezek raised more than $30,000, with many other area residents and businesses offering to send packages of their own to the war-torn country.
“I know I am an outsider, I came from another country and have only lived in Pierre since 2011,” Rezek told The Dakota Scout. “But people kept supporting the efforts, and told me they were behind me.”
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