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City Of Davis Holds Special Connection With Ukraine

DAVIS (CBS13) — As the war in Ukraine rages on, communities there are looking for international aid, and one city in particular has a special connection with the city of Davis.

English teacher Tamara Haruk hunkered down in her home in Uman, Ukraine, as she expressed gratitude for a $12,000 gift to her hometown.

"We are so grateful for the ordinary people. Thank you so so much," she said.

This high school english teacher serves as a translator on a committee that unites Uman with Davis. John Chiles is the chairman.

"Davis has had a sister city program with Uman, Ukraine, since 1984-85," Chiles said.

Ukraine has long been known as the breadbasket of Europe. So when the United States looked to match Uman with another city, Davis—with it's agricultural ties—just made sense, especially when you look at the sunflowers grown in Yolo and Solano counties.

"All of that seed people see and drive by all ends up in Russia, Crimea and the Ukraine," Chiles said. "We raise the seed here for them to raise the flower, and then they harvest the flower and crush it for sunflower oil."

That relationship became more important with the outbreak of war.

"I got a letter from the mayor. They wanted medical, food, ambulances, cars. They wanted vans," Chiles said.

Chiles knew getting supplies to Ukraine would be hard, so a fundraiser for several nonprofits supporting the region was put together. While Haruk isn't a decision-maker regarding where the money goes, she knows where it's needed.

"Money could be spent to buy some medicine for those who need to help the army," Haruk said. "To protect soldiers and they could be spent to help refugees because we've got lots of them."

She says the financial support does so much for emotional support back home.

"We are really touched with those who decided to help us," Haruk said.

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