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Ukrainian Families on Long Island to Unite, Fundraise on Father’s Day

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An annual picnic held by Ukrainian organizations is taking on new meaning this year, as it’s used to raise funds for Ukrainians fighting to defend their country.

The annual Father’s Day Picnic organized by the 42nd Branch of the Organization for the Defense of the Four Freedoms for Ukraine, volunteers of St. Josephat’s Monastery, and the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church of St. Voldymyr will also serve as a fundraiser this year.

It’s being held on Father’s Day, June 19, with a church service at noon followed by picnic at 1 p.m. honoring fathers, sons, and soldiers in Ukraine at the Monastery of St. Vasylyaniv, also known as St. Josephat’s, 1 E. Beach Dr., Glen Cove.

“Usually, we honor our fathers and our brothers. And it’s so beautiful over there,” said Halyna Fenchenko, president of the 42nd branch of the ODFFU. “This time we’re doing Father’s Day, but fundraising, because we need money for our soldiers and our fighters.”

To many on Long Island, the war in Ukraine is distant, arriving on their screen and in stories in publications.

To Ukrainian families here and in Ukraine, it is very real and very present. Families and people who have family members living and fighting in Ukraine will be in attendance at the Father’s Day picnic and fundraisers.

In addition Ukrainians with family in Ukraine,  Ukrainians who have recently immigrated from Ukraine will attend the event.

“We will also have folk musicians performing as we honor the Ukrainian people and culture,” Fenchenko said.

Ukrainian entertainers Eugene Dashyn, Iryna Lonchina, and Victor Sydir, will perform. There will be face painting and raffles with prizes from organizations in the community as the organizers celebrate Ukrainian families.

Organizers will display Ukrainian flags and items with the Ukrainian colors on them. And friends of Ukraine will ride motorcycles to Glen Cove while holding Ukrainian flags.

“We’ve done this every year for more than 50 years,” Fenchenko said of the picnic. “Because of the coronavirus, we didn’t do it for two years.”

All funds raised will go to help those defending Ukraine, she said. The event’s organizers will provide a financial video report about work they’ve done for Ukraine. For more information or to donate, call 631-813-5292.

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