JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — A growing number of businesses in the region have signed up to an effort to help a nonprofit that helps Ukrainians and has ties to the region.
The “Eat, Drink and Make a Difference” campaign runs from Friday to Sunday and is the brainchild of Nelly Ostrovsky, originally from Kyiv area who moved to Johnson City in 1990 as a young woman. Proceeds will go directly to “United Help Ukraine”, a Washington-based nonprofit sister-in-law established after the outbreak of conflict in eastern Ukraine in 2014.
A number of restaurants, shops and venues are participating. In addition to agreeing to contribute a portion of their proceeds, each business will display a poster (or more than one) with campaign information and a QR code that customers can scan to make a direct donation.
High Voltage, a downtown Kingsport venue that also includes an ax throwing area, will donate one dollar to United Help Ukraine for every draft beer they pour this Friday and Saturday.
“I think more importantly we will have posters with QR codes here and at Ax House we will have donation boxes,” co-owner Anne Greenfield told News Channel 11 on Wednesday.
Artisans Village, a fair trade store in downtown Johnson City, will donate half of the proceeds from its Thistle Farms line of lotions and beauty products. This line itself supports women who have been victims of human trafficking.
Wheeler’s Bagels produces giant blue and yellow cookies at its Johnson City and Kingsport locations and donates all of those profits.
Greenfield said she heard about the effort on Monday, reviewed it, and realized after talking to Ostrovsky “it was something we wanted to be involved in.”
“If people want to buy a beer and let me donate, that’s fine with me,” Greenfield said. “If they want to donate through the QR code or through the donation box, that’s wonderful too. I think it’s a great cause that we all need to support.
Companies interested in participating can email [email protected] to learn more. Posters with QR codes will be given to them.
Greenfield said she was particularly sold because United Help Ukraine is an established charity run by volunteers and less than 1% of its revenue is needed for overheads.
“I think sometimes as Americans we just push money, and it makes us feel better, but we don’t really know where it’s going or how we’re giving,” she said. declared.
“I think that’s the beauty of this project. We know who is responsible, we know their hearts are breaking over this and they know where the money will go.