COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been ongoing for about five months, and as the war continues, so does the help from Ohio for Ukrainians.
Part of that aid is called From Ohio, With Love. Two musicians, Brett Hill and Benya Stewart, have been playing venues across the state to raise money for Ukraine, and on Sunday, they played a show in Columbus.
Under Ukrainian-colored lights, with a Ukrainian flag behind them, two Ohio folk musicians did what they could to support Ukraine.
Hill and Stewart are raising money through a series of benefit concerts, with their latest show happening at Natalie’s Grandview.
“This is just part of an ongoing effort to do anything we can to provide grassroots support from the people of Ohio directly to Ukraine,” Hill said.
The musicians’ efforts started back in February just after Russia invaded. They delivered medical supplies they raised money for back in the spring. They saw what Ukrainians are going through – hearing air raid sirens on a regular basis while trying to live their lives.
“It was a really important point to have that sense of how things are because we need to be able to transfer that and help people in Ohio,” Hill said.
The pair has been playing in a group with some Ukrainian musicians for about three years. One of those musicians is now on the front lines.
“We’ve played folk music for a long time and it’s a huge part of our identity, but for it to suddenly have a purpose and for it to be able to have this tangible positive effect for people we care about, it’s hard to describe what that can mean,” Stewart said.
Hill and Steward now carry a Ukrainian flag signed by some of the soldiers. Those soldiers received medical supplies from the duo’s fundraising campaign, From Ohio, With Love. They hope their concerts will be a reminder that help is still needed.
“The last thing we can do right now is stop talking about this,” Hill said. “People just have to keep attention forward and keep it in conversation and not allow people to forget this is going on every day.”
From Ohio, With Love has raised about $55,000 so far for medical supplies and refugee support. The goal is to raise $100,000 by the end of the summer.