Local News

Local Ukrainian Relief Fundraiser Exceeds Goal

(La Porte, IN) - A church fundraising drive in La Porte to help fleeing residents of Ukraine has already blown past its goal.


Initially, the goal was $5,000 when the drive-by Bethany Lutheran Church fundraiser started last week. However, Pastor Dennis Meyer said the total is over $10,000, and money is still coming in. Meyer said donations have come from around the region.


"We've heard from people from Dyer, from St. John, from Merrillville, from Valparaiso, and, of course, La Porte as well. We're very excited about this," Pastor Meyer said.

Initially, the church offered to match every dollar contributed to the cause up to $2,500. However, Meyer said the match from the church was raised to $5,000 because of the response from donors.


He said the fundraising drive would continue indefinitely. No decision has been made yet on whether the church will increase the match for the third time, but it's entirely possible.


The money will help a Ukrainian refugee facility being created in Poland. 


An abandoned elementary school that Agnieszka Czupryna of Kingsbury attended while growing up in the small village of Podlipie is being converted into a refugee camp. Podlipie is about a three-hour drive from the Ukrainian border. Her husband, Slawek, grew up about 10 minutes away in another town and went to the school for special events. Slawek is a 19 year veteran of the La Porte County Sheriff's Office.


Agnieszka is making the connections in her homeland to ensure the money winds up in the right hands.


Meyer said the idea stemmed from talks he and Slawek were having about the Russian invasion and the suffering it's causing the people of Ukraine fleeing mainly to Poland. 


Bethany Lutheran Church is now flying a Ukrainian flag with flags from the United States and Indiana on poles on the west side of the church. In addition, people can receive Ukrainian flags to pin on clothing like sports coats and other items when they donate to the cause at the church. People can also donate on the church website.


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