BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Crisis between Ukraine and Russia continues, local state lawmakers, vying to look for ways to take down the Russian economy. Meanwhile, a few Buffalo business owners work to help with Ukraine relief efforts.
Senator Sean Ryan and others call for Comptroller Tom Dinapoli to divest $279 Billion of New York State pension funds from companies based in Russia.
“There are plenty of American businesses that we can invest in, and this money need to come out of any kind of interest in Russia and back to the United States,” says Yuri Hreshchyshyn, chairman of Buffalo Chapter Ukrainian Congress Committee of America.
Plus, the push to help the people of Ukraine continues to be felt in businesses across the community.
“We know how great our community is, and our job is to help even though it’s not on this side of the world. We want to help our brothers and sisters who are facing the turmoil that’s going on in the surrounding areas,” says Michael Fiore, owner of Village Bake Shoppe.
The owner of Buffawix Candle Co., Kristine Bailey, began her candle business three years ago when the pandemic hit. Now, she’s on to this mission in helping those from thousands of miles away.
"I wanted to do something for Ukraine. So I reached out to the Ukrainian Cultural Center. There are the ones who recommended donating to the Ukrainian Freedom Foundation,” Bailey says. “We can help that way so 50% of the money we raise for the candles will be going to that foundation.”
Bailey says with the candles costing $19, she doesn’t mind how much she sells. It’s all about being supportive.
“I said to my husband I don’t care if we sell ten candles at least we’re trying to help, so that’s kind of why we’re doing it,” Bailey says.
A leader in the local Ukrainian community calls the need to help Ukrainians dire.
“Ukrainians are staying and fighting. Yes, we’d expect three million people to migrate out of Ukraine and some of them coming here to the United States, and we will be preparing to welcome them,” Hreshchyshyn says.
Click here to find a link to help with Ukrainian relief efforts.