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FILLING BOWLS AND HEARTS Fundraiser in Kidron benefits soup kitchen in Ukraine

HOW TO HELP: Additional donations may be mailed to Salem Mennonite Church, 3363 Zuercher Road, Dalton, OH 44618.

Local residents line up at the Kidron Community Center for a fundraiser which included picking out a handmade bowl they took home after enjoying borscht and music to benefit a soup kitchen in Ukraine.

From left, Kateryna Murza, Kay Shue and Natalia Murza at the Empty Bowl Fundraiser at Kidron Community Center. The fundraiser benefits a soup kitchen Kateryna Murza founded in Ukraine.
Natalia Murza serves authentic Ukrainian borscht.


KIDRON  Warm authentic borscht made by a grateful Ukrainian family who has been staying in Kidron since this summer was lovingly ladled into bowls at a special event last month.

About 100 hand-thrown ceramic bowls were donated by potters locally and from out of state for the Empty Bowl fundraiser Oct. 23 at Kidron Community Center. Many people left with an empty handmade bowl that they had carefully picked out to use for sipping and slurping the homemade soup. Their stomachs were full – so were their hearts.

Krista Shue Mast, of Kidron, was familiar with Empty Bowl fundraisers when she lived in Goshen, Indiana.

She and more than a dozen family members, friends and other community members organized a fundraiser that was meaningful and successful on many levels to residents locally and in Ukraine.

“When Russia invaded Ukraine in February of this year our hearts were broken for the Ukrainians,” Shue Mast wrote in an email. “In June of this year we had the opportunity to directly help a Ukrainian refugee family who had moved into downtown Kidron from Kyiv.”

Oleg and Kateryna Murza, their son, Alex and his wife, Natalia and 10-year-old son, Max, have been well cared for thanks to the generous and welcoming Kidron community, Salem Mennonite Church and other churches and donors. Max attends Central Christian School. His mother taught him English when they were in Ukraine and that skill has served him well in the United States.

In 2008, Kateryna Murza founded a soup kitchen in Ukraine, which served thousands of people every year before the war. Following the war, and when the Murzas fled to the United States, Kateryna continued to have calls from her organization asking for her help.

“It was our hope in organizing the Empty Bowl Fundraiser to not only show the Murza family that they are not alone during this time, but also to give them a platform in which they can continue to help the people – their own family and friends who are still in Ukraine – with the bare essentials that they need,” Shue Mast said in the email.

Read the complete story in the Nov. 2, 2022 edition.

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