ROCHESTER, N.Y (WROC) — The Ukrainian Culture Center Roc Maidan teamed up with the Flower City Union soccer team to launch a live auction of team jerseys, with proceeds going to Ukraine.
Many local charities were participating in Sunday’s event, but Roc Maidan’s cause hits close to home for Andrify Demydiv, who is from Ukraine.
Demydiv and the Ukrainian Culture Center used the sport he loves to gather donations.
Demydiv plays as a defender for the Flower City Union but grew up in western Ukraine. He continues to hear stories from family and friends being forced away from their homes by Russian artillery.
“On the East side where the war is most prevalent, we’ve had people move into our house on the West side,” Demydiv said. “Where it’s safe and people have a place to stay. A lot of my relatives had to move out to different countries.”
To make sure his home country continues to receive everything it needs, Demydiv and another teammate wore jerseys labeled with the Roc Maidan logo.
They’ll sign them and have them auctioned off next week with the proceeds going to Roc Maidan.
“Very proud moment for me to play in my hometown but also play for the country where I was born,” Demydiv said. “It means a lot.”
“Next week we’ll be having an auction online with all the jerseys like the game-worn ones,” Mark Washo, Managing Director at Flower City Union, explained. “That will be signed by the players that wore them. As well as another jersey that will be donated to the charities of choice, but if people go to FlowerCity.com, they’ll be able to bid on the jersey and those proceeds will benefit the actual charities.”
On top of accepting proceeds from the jerseys, Roc Maidan set up a table of pro-Ukraine merchandise people could take after donating as a reminder of the impact of the war on the Ukrainian people.
“We’re still collecting those backpacks with school supplies,” Dennis Pavlyuk, a volunteer with Roc Maidan, said. “We’re not ready to ship them out yet. We’re also focusing on medical aid because the war is dragging on and medical supplies are being exhausted.”
Again, those Flower City Union jersey auctions with charity logos branded to them begin Tuesday morning over on the team’s website. For instructions on how to join, click here.