A pair of special free events aimed at providing relief to the people of Ukraine are coming to Jacksonville this month. A free concert is scheduled for Sunday, June 12th at Lovejoy Hall, previously, the Jacksonville Congregational United Church of Christ on West College Avenue.
Proprietor of Lovejoy Hall, Scotty DeWolf says some very special guests will be putting on a concert of Ukrainian folk songs and sharing first-hand testimonials about the current situation for the people living in Ukraine.
“We’re privileged to have Yuriy Safronov and his wife Tetiana who are dedicated Ukrainians who have lived in Balwin, Missouri since 1990. But they have family over there including their grandmother who is eighty years old and still stays there. They have been dedicating themselves to the relief effort, which is very tricky.
They literally take their life in their hands when they slip into Ukraine and bring bulletproof vests to the civilian army and so forth. They are raising their money and processing it through the Arch Dioceses of Philadelphia.”
The Songs and Stories of Ukraine Music and Variety Show will be free to the public to attend, with free-will donations to the cause greatly appreciated. DeWolf says even if someone can’t afford to give a donation they are still welcome to come as it’s important to have solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
The Safronovs will also host a special outreach event for young adults on Saturday, June 11th at Lovejoy Hall. DeWolf says the Safronovs especially wanted to host the event since farming is such a large part of this area’s economy.
“They want to have young people from middle school and their families, all the way up to college to speak to students, and especially FFA and 4-H Club members. They said there is a lot to identify with here in Jacksonville because their whole culture is predominately farm families.
They grow corn, soybeans, and wheat. They are known as the breadbasket of Europe, and the Russians have decimated their farms. So it will be a special opportunity for students on Saturday and the general public on Sunday to hear not news stories that are filtered, but these are the real stories because they are in touch with people there constantly, on the phone and so forth and they know what’s going on. It’s going to be fascinating and heartwarming.”
DeWolf says the group doesn’t expect donations during the Saturday youth outreach event but hopes the community will dig in and generously support the Ukrainian people during the Sunday concert.
DeWolf says he is also leading an effort to encourage Jacksonville residents to plant Ukrainian sunflower seeds in their yards as a sign of solidarity. He says this variety of sunflower grows roughly four feet tall and is the national flower of Ukraine.
DeWolf says even the City of Jacksonville is participating with Mayor Andy Ezard offering to have some of the seeds planted around the downtown square. The Songs and Stories of Ukraine event will be held at Lovejoy Hall, located at 520 West College Avenue on Sunday, June 12th at pm.
The special presentation for students and their families will be held the day before on Saturday, June 11th also at 3:00 pm. The concert is open to local performers as well. For more information on how you can contribute, perform or just attend, contact Scotty DeWolf at 707-349-7790.