How Florence (and our community) has reacted to the Ukrainian crisis
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How Florence (and our community) has reacted to the Ukrainian crisis

As the first refugees started to arrive in Florence, the city immediately began to react to the Ukrainian crisis by organizing collections.

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Tue 29 Mar 2022 5:54 PM

As the first refugees started to arrive in Florence, the city immediately began to react to the Ukrainian crisis by organizing food, clothing and medical collections. None more so than the region’s international community, which continues to play a major role in helping newcomers to Tuscany and those in need throughout Europe. 

Students from the International School of Florence deliver supplies to the RK International House of Human Rights in Florence

Students at the International School of Florence launched a campaign to raise monies for the Save the Children Crisis Relief Fund, while the school’s Human Rights Club worked with the Robert F. Kennedy Foundation to organize a collection drive, whereby all donated items were delivered by truck to Ukraine.

Ukrainian refuges arrive at the Mercafir reception hub in Florence

The City of Florence has organized a fundraiser with the Italian Red Cross. The Misericordia di Firenze continues to run a fundraiser (​​Banca Intesa San Paolo IBAN: IT40Z0306909606100000012576, Reason for bank transfer: Sacravita per l’Ucraina) as well as collection points (long-life food and medicines). All proceeds go towards helping Ukrainians arriving in Florence.

Clothes for women and children, including shoes and new underwear, all in a good condition, are being collected in the via dell’Ardiglione gardens (Via D’Ardiglione 30) on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons (3-6pm), at the Bianchi gym (piazza del Carmine 19) on Saturday from 10am to 5pm, and at Lofoio (via del Campuccio 23R) on Wednesday evenings (5-9.30pm).

St. Mark’s English Church organized a Concert for Peace on March 18, including Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem in D Minor, which raised over 800 euro for Ukrainian relief.

Speakeasy Multilingual held a silent art auction on March 9. Local artists donated works and around 2,500 euro was raised. The auction is still continuing: speakeasymultilingual@gmail.com 

Ukraine-born Volodymyr Rychkin, a Florence resident for more than 10 years, and Florentine Dario D’Ambrosa of newly formed mindfulness project, ​​AryaZen, organized a yoga practice and ayurvedic tea on the city’s urban beach on March 27. The money raised went to help Ukrainian refugees in Florence, whom Vlad and Dario and their friends are currently hosting. 

Many individuals in the Foreigners in Florence Facebook group have organized collections with delivery by minibus to Poland, in addition to offering to host refugees arriving in Florence. Hosts must contact the police HQ immigration office within 48 hours of arrival and call freephone number 800 556060 for Covid testing and to acquire documentation for healthcare. Changes in EU legislation mean that Ukrainians fleeing the war will be able to stay in one EU country of their choice for up to a year.

San Miniato-based food writer Emiko Davies has joined Olia Hercules (Ukrainian) and Alissa Timoshkina (Russian) to support the #CookforUkraine movement. “This would be really interesting for the international community in Florence and might inspire some similar homegrown movement.” The idea is to amplify what’s happening in Ukraine by cooking Ukrainian food and posting it to social media with the #CookforUkraine hashtag. At the same time, a fundraiser welcomes donations through bake sales and proceeds from cooking lessons that go to UNICEF; the virtual Italian cooking class recently organized by Emiko, Carla Tomasi, Kelda Wallis, Stefano Artusi and many more raised over 3,000 euro. Find Ukrainian recipes and make a donation here.

Tuscany Hall brings Swan Lake to the stage at 9pm on April 11 and Giselle on April 12, presented by the Ukrainian Classical Ballet Company in support of Ukrainian artists. Part of the proceeds will be donated to the Coop for the Ukraine solidarity campaign.

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