Toledo Helps Ukraine refugees to host cleanup event

Press Staff Writer

        In honor of Ukraine’s Independence Day (Aug. 24), Ukrainian refugees who have come to Northwest Ohio with the assistance of Toledo Helps Ukraine/ have created a community cleanup event on Friday, Aug. 25, beginning at 4 p.m. on a portion of Route 20 in Perrysburg.
        The idea for the event came from Viacheslav Merzlikin, a 33-year old Ukrainian refugee who lives in Perrysburg with his wife, Karina Sharova. After getting a job at Amazon in the Crossroads, Viacheslav would make the one-hour walk to work each day. He noticed a large amount of litter in sections of the busy highway and suggested that he and other Ukrainian refugees offer to clean up the area.
        “Our goal is not only to make a positive impact on the environment, but also to showcase the hardworking and caring nature of Ukrainian people who have come to the United Statues due to the brutality of the Russian invasion in Ukraine,” said Alona Matchenko, co-founder of Toledo Helps Ukraine. “The families we have brought here to safety from the ravages of war in their homeland are extremely grateful to the community. They are eager to work, enroll in school, and find housing for themselves. This is just one way they have chosen to say, ‘thank you.’”
        Anyone who wishes to join the volunteers are invited to meet on Friday, Aug. 25, at 4 p.m. at Panera Bread, 10981 Fremont Pike, Perrysburg. All cleaning materials and safety vests will be provided.
        Ukrainian Independence Day marks the major state holiday in modern Ukraine to commemorate Ukraine’s Declaration of Independence in 1991.
        Toledo Helps Ukraine works to bring refugees waiting to come to the United States through Uniting for Ukraine, a streamlined process that allows displaced Ukrainian citizens to apply for humanitarian parole in the United States. To date, has independently secured 17 sponsors and brought 59 refugees to Ohio, and 15 settled elsewhere in the U.S., for a temporary two-year stay. All refugees who apply for sponsorship are vetted and must agree to find employment and enroll their children in school.
        Sponsors can be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or other lawfully present individuals. This includes educational institutions. Employers can also help sponsor people fleeing Ukraine. To learn more, visit


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