GULF SHORES — Two business owners from Ukraine have launched a fundraising campaign to support their home country as it grapples with ongoing political and economic challenges from the invasion …
GULF SHORES — Two business owners from Ukraine have launched a fundraising campaign to support their home country as it grapples with ongoing political and economic challenges from the invasion and war by Russia.
When the owners of Gourmet World Market, Maksym Tsegelnyk and Iuliia Mulligan, moved to Gulf Shores in 2010, the married couple never imagined their country would be facing the issues it is today.
"It was shock. Just absolute shock," Mulligan said. "We knew something was coming, but we didn't know when and how big. Nobody expected it."
She also said that it was hard for her and Tsegelnyk to even leave their home due to the shock they were in. Tsegelnyk spoke with family and friends back in Ukraine to see what they could do to help despite being thousands of miles away. The store is in Pelican Place at Craft Farms and sells specialty European and international groceries and products as well as fresh-made sandwiches and a variety of deli meat and cheeses.
They acted and started a fundraiser.
The two business owners found that other local businesses and customers responded positively to the fundraiser.
"We had local businesses create QR codes to the Go Fund Me for us and print out copies for us to have," Tsegelnyk said.
The couple said the money raised does not just go toward essential needs like clothing items and food, but it is also used to provide military ammunition to soldiers and is sent out to volunteer organizations.
"We bought one car and a semi-truck from Italy, and it included baby diapers and a pick-up truck," Tsegelnyk said.
Other items that have been purchased with the donations include drones, cameras, armor, vehicles and first aid equipment.
With the help of friends, customers and local businesses, an estimated total of $60,000 has been raised. Mulligan and Tsegelnyk are determined to continue their mission of making a positive impact in their home country.
"We are still raising money for family members and friends who fight because the Ukranian government doesn't have enough to supply everyone," Tsegelnyk said. "They have basic things but not enough."
Those who wish to give can donate through checks, cash, Venmo or Zelle. The accounts are listed on the store's Facebook page. To learn more, call (251) 285-5431.