Delta's Ukrainian & Russian Immigrants Work In Alaska To Help Feed Those Back Home With Donations

Delta Junction Has Largest Number of Ukrainians Per Capita In America: Wikipedia  Russian-Ukrainian Church In Delta Junction Trying To Help ...

Delta Junction Has Largest Number of Ukrainians Per Capita In America: Wikipedia 

Russian-Ukrainian Church In Delta Junction Trying To Help Feed Distant Ukrainians With Donations 

Before the Delta Junction IGA collapsed under a heavy snow load on its roof at Christmas time, the supermarket was one of the few places in Delta where you could clearly see that this Alaska town is full of Ukrainians and Russians. For years, the IGA maintained a long grocery aisle holding nothing but Ukrainian, Russian and Polish foods: smoked fish, junk food, crackers...  The store helped serve the up to 2,000 Russian-Ukrainians who live in the surrounding area with food that reminded them of home. 

Cultural food for sale to Ukrainian & Russian immigrants in Delta Junction. On display at the Delta IGA Store, which collapsed under December snows. (Photos, Country Journal Archives) 

The Country Journal called the Delta Word Of Life evangelical church (which is operated by people from Slavic countries) on Sunday, March 27th. We asked a parishioner to explain how local people are helping with the current crisis in Ukraine. Their efforts involve food.  

The parishioner said that church members are all working together right now, trying to raise money to help feed people back home in Ukraine.

"In Delta we all participate and work, and we have people in the church every day. Locals come in (to the church) donating money and food and clothing. Local people are coming, buying... We have ended up with almost $15,000 put together... for Ukraine. Local people are donating their clothing, tools, whatever they have. They bring it to the church, and other people come and buy. Businesses and churches are donating money. Also, a local 942 will send money. Some people who used to live in Delta will send money to the church.”

The problem now is getting the money to Ukraine, so it'll get to relatives of local people who are working, cooking and delivering food to their neighbors in Ukrainian communities. 

"Churches I grew up with they have, daily, 10 people cooking and delivering food. We're trying to get money to those." Ukrainians can use money to buy whole pigs, potatoes, rice and other food by the truckload to distribute. 

Unfortunately, it's terribly dangerous there, distributing food, as we might imagine. "Some of them got killed on the road."

The Ukrainian parishioner told the Journal: "I have three families there, two sisters and a brother in Ukraine." Relatives live in Western Ukraine. "There was four missiles yesterday. Three of them were destroyed in the air. The fourth one kind of got off course. My brother sent me a video of the lights from the missile."

The community of Delta Junction, Alaska has a mix of Ukrainian and Russian families. "We don't separate ourselves here, at all," the parishioner told the Journal. "We put our differences aside. We call ourselves Christians."

Apparently, up to 2,000 people in the surrounding area are of Ukrainian or Russian descent, the parishioner said. (Wikipedia says that Delta has the largest per capita population of Ukrainians in America.) 

Like Ukraine, Delta Junction is a breadbasket, capable of growing wheat and barley. But the parishioner said that Delta is "more like Siberia" than Ukraine, weather-wise. "We have a few Russian families that used to live in Siberia, with kind of similar weather to Alaska. They feel like home... That's what I hear." 

Many Ukrainians came to this part of Alaska in the 1990s, looking for safety and a new life. They were welcomed by Americans. "People are interested to know where we came from. They feel happy for you to have a chance to live a different life. 98 or 99% of people were positive. We came to this country without knowing English -- and succeeding." 

Ukraine has had a hard history. "From 1945 to 1984, give or take, the Christians were persecuted. My father, in the 1950's they sent him to a prison and told him he'd never come back alive." 

The father was sentenced to 5 years for being an anticommunist -- for following the teachings of the Bible. "The Bible said, Thou shalt not kill." 

As the imprisoned father was about to be executed, he was saved when an officer abruptly changed his mind. 

"My father lived into his 80s." 

The people of the Slavic community in Delta Junction are grateful for Alaskans who are trying to help them and their Ukrainian families in Europe. 

"It's a huge thank you to the people in Delta, the locals. All local people – everybody – are participating in one way or another." 


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