GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — The Russian invasion of Ukraine hits close to home for a couple in Gulf Shores who are trying to do everything they can to “Stand with Ukraine”.
Maksym Tsegelnyk and his wife Iuliia Mulligan have made a life in Gulf Shores. The Gourmet World Market is their business, but their hearts remain in Ukraine. Inside their market, you will find many delicacies to satisfy a global palette, and you will also find a way to support relief efforts in Ukraine.
“I’m going to try to speak but it just brings awful memories,” says Iuliia. She and her husband are both from Dnipro in south-central Ukraine. “We don’t have an active war going on there and just because of that there is a lot of refugees coming from surrounding cities that have been actually destroyed. It’s been active combat there and they have no place to go,” says Tsegelnyk.
They have been raising money since the invasion two months ago. Thursday a big donation from the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach Rotary Club of 14 hundred dollars that they will use to buy medical supplies, clothes and food. It is a cause that literally hits close to home.
“My brother, my mom and my Dad are still over there, she can leave because she has a visa, she can come here but my Dad and my brother can not leave the country since they are military age so that’s why she is staying,” says Mulligan.
The only way they know to help is by raising money, being so far away has been torture.
“Every day people are dying, people are losing their houses,” says Mulligan as she holds their 15-month-old daughter Eva.
“They need help and it’s a world tragedy I think,” she says.
The couple says the community has been tremendously supportive. Their latest shipment of supplies arrived Thursday in Dnipro. What they fear is that the war is becoming old news to so many people and for them, it’s something they live with every day. So they will continue to fly their Ukrainian flag outside of their market and talk to anyone who will listen about why it is so important to “Stand with Ukraine”.