Woodside resident plans Ukrainian Cultural Festival to raise funds for humanitarian efforts

by Kristin Gettinger on October 3, 2022

When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Ukrainian-born Woodside resident Nataliya Panchuk-Voloshina pleaded with her parents who remained in Kyiv to leave immediately and come to the United States. Out of love and dedication to their country, they refused.

So, she set to work to figure out what she, one person, in the Bay Area could do to help her country. A Silicon Valley healthcare and life sciences executive with experience leading teams, she knew that with dogged determination, she could meet a need in Ukraine by helping those who remained in Ukraine.

Learning from the news about shortages of specialty medications caused by the war, she started cold calling Ukrainian hospitals and oncology centers to discern gaps in the emergency supply chain. She sought out medical professionals and hospital staff via Facebook Messenger working to gain their trust and convince them that she could help. Over and over told, “No more aspirin,” by skeptical Ukrainian medical professionals and hospital administrators, she continued using Facebook, sleuthing out ways to find people who could explain what they needed.

She quickly realized she could work to secure safe unexpired cancer medications and ensure successful delivery directly to hospitals and oncology centers but needed a reliable and trusted partner. She partnered with Daar Charitable Foundation, a U.S.-registered 501(3)(c) non-profit, with a 20-year history of charitable work in Ukraine and an impeccable reputation. She launched her initiative, “Help Ukrainian Hospitals Save Lives” to benefit Daar and procure cancer medications through Blessings International Medicines for Missions.

Panchuk-Voloshina has already raised $52,000, as Daar doubled her efforts when she raised $26,000 through her GoFundMe campaign. In partnership with other organizations and through in-kind donations, she was able to provide over $120,000 worth of medicine and medical supplies to hospitals in Ukraine.

Now she has gone further. She’s organized a Ukrainian Cultural Festival to raise funds for her initiative as well as bring local Ukrainian and American communities together. If you are looking for a way to help Ukraine, come stand for humanity, hope, and the future of Ukraine on Saturday, October 8 from 2:00 to 6:00 pm at the Woodside Village Hub, 3154 Woodside Road, next door to Woodside Library. Admission is free of charge as no one should be turned away from a cultural community-building event.

The festival will contain Ukrainian vendors and is designed to bring people together through the celebration of the arts. All proceeds from the event will go to the “Help Ukrainian Hospitals Save Lives” initiative.  Offered will be Ukrainian foods, arts and crafts, wines donated by Thomas Fogarty, live music, a raffle where one can bid on Ukrainian paintings, art lessons for your children or yourself, Sharks tickets, a four-hour studio recording session, and horseback riding lessons from fellow Woodside and Portola Valley residents. Check out Ukrainian doll-making and more activities kids will love, like face painting.

A festival highlight will be the exhibit/silent auction of 17 original paintings by Ukrainian American world-renowned contemporary artist Pavel Tayber, which have been donated by his family for this cause. Born in Kharkiv, the late Pavel Tayber moved to California in 1995 where he created a series of captivating works, broadly varying in technique and style. Tayber passed away in 2017. His works have been exhibited in museums in Kyiv, Kharkiv and in private collections in the US, Germany, Sweden, Israel, Great Britain, and France.

Register for the festival online.

Photo by Robb Most (c) 2022


Carol Sontag October 03, 2022 at 6:12 pm

What a wonderful woman and fantastic way to build community support for our Ukrainian friends and allies.

Deb Freeman October 03, 2022 at 8:19 pm

Great work Nataliya!!

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