North Salem Committee for Ukraine to host benefit event at Hayfields Market


North Salem resident Rebecca Baldridge spent almost nine years living and working in Russia and Ukraine as an emerging markets investment analyst. So when Russian forces entered Ukraine in February, she was deeply affected. She worried for the friends and former colleagues she had grown close with while working there, and she was determined to find a way to do something to help from afar.

Baldridge joined forces with Chris Evers of Animal Embassy, who has already helped lead fundraising efforts for Ukraine along with the North Salem Volunteer Ambulance Corps. Baldridge and Evers recruited several other North Salem residents who were eager to help–Linda Van Kooy, Julia Burke, Libby Parker, Karen Aronian, and Catherine Hormats–and together the group formed the North Salem Committee for Ukraine.

This Thursday from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m., the Committee will host a Benefit for Ukraine at Hayfields Market in North Salem. The event will feature live music by local band Andrea & the Armenian Rug Riders, live animal ambassadors from Animal Embassy, a silent auction featuring the work of local artists, and food and drinks provided by Hayfields. Funds raised will be donated directly to refugees in the western Ukrainian town of Izyaslav and front line soldiers. Since the onset of the war, Izyaslav has been inundated with thousands of refugees, all of whom are in desperate need of shelter, food, clothing, and financial assistance.

“People always wonder where their money is going to when they give to a cause,” said Van Kooy. “This is real grassroots. The money we raise will go directly into the hands of refugees.”

Parker added, “the best thing that could be given to these refugees is cash. With cash, they can still go to the store and get food. It’s the best thing to keep them feeling human.”

The committee hopes to raise a minimum of $10,000 toward the cause. Those funds can come from ticket sales and attendance at Thursday night’s event as well as from donations made directly to the group’s website.

Van Kooy and Parker stressed that the committee’s work goes beyond Thursday night’s event. Rather, they are determined to provide ongoing support to Iziaslav. To that end, the committee has partnered with Tsal Kaplun Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization committed to the study and preservation of the cultural heritage of Jewish communities in the former Soviet Union.

“We want to be able to help money flow to that region,” Parker said. “The North Salem area can feel proud that they’re helping refugees.”

To purchase tickets for Thursday night's event, click here.

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