Portland kayakers paddle to raise support and money for Ukraine

Published: May. 22, 2022 at 10:26 AM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - It was beautiful day on the Willamette River Saturday, with plenty of people preparing to go out on the water.

But the kayakers weren’t just enjoying the scenery.

“Portland Paddlers are banding together to mobilize and show support for the people of Ukraine, who are trapped in a terrible situation and a terrible conflict of war,” organizer Paul Steinberg said.

It’s called “Paddle for Ukraine.” Steinberg said 100% of the proceeds go to charity.

“We’re supporting two charities,” Steinberg said. “Direct Relief Ukraine and the Ukrainian Foundation.”

Organizers teamed up with Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe. The company donated the use of their kayaks and other equipment.

“This could be one of their busiest days of the year,” Steinberg said. “It’s a very nice spring day, one of the first nice spring weekend days. Instead of doing that, they’re here supporting this event.”

Andrew Romanelli is the program director for Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe. He said as soon as they heard about the event, they were eager to help out.

“We felt like this is still an important thing to still address and be aware,” Romanelli said. “I think a lot of folks were wondering how they can help and what we can do for Ukrainians.”

It’s help that the Ukrainian Foundation said they’ll gratefully accept.

“We are so unbelievably blessed to be here and have (such) huge support from American people,” Yuriy Boyechko, president of the Ukrainian Foundation, said. “(They) understand that we’re fighting for our freedom and moral support is huge for us.”