Displaced Ukrainian family attends Ishpeming’s Italian Fest

Marquette County’s Crossroads Christian Fellowship raised money for the family by selling Pysanky, bracelets and other items
Displaced Ukrainian family attends Ishpeming’s Italian Fest
Published: Jul. 30, 2022 at 8:20 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 30, 2022 at 8:25 PM EDT
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ISHPEMING, Mich. (WLUC) - A family from Ukraine made spent time at Italian Fest in Ishpeming on Saturday. After months of heartache, stress and unknowns, Yevheniia Bilan and her family migrated to the United States on July 27.

“We’re happy that all of our family is together, the four of us (me, my husband and two kids), and that we are in a free and safe place,” said Bilan.

Yevheniia, her husband Ihor, and her two five-year-old twins, Arkadil and Zlata, are originally from Sumy, Ukraine - one of the first areas attacked by Russians on Feb. 24. Just 30 kilometers from the Russian border, the family heard bombs exploding for a month.

“Even now, we are afraid of loud sounds. When we were staying in Sumy, there were sirens, planes, bombing and shelling, and we were staying in the bathroom like a shelter,” Bilan said.

In mid-March, Bilan and her two kids took everything they could and left their home, heading to the Netherlands.

“I left my home, my family, my career, everything,” said Bilan.

That is where Marquette County’s Crossroads Christian Fellowship (CCF) came in. The church raised money to bring the family to America in connection with a federal program called Uniting for Ukraine. CCF was at Saturday’s festival to continue fundraising.

“It’s like we’re hosting a family. The circumstances are terrible, but it feels like we’re creating a friendship,” said Pastor Andy Liimatta.

Bilan is thankful for all the church did to make her family feel at home.

“We are so happy that a lot of people support Ukrainians, and we are very grateful to all Americans, especially to the family of Liimatta and their friends,” Bilan said.

The Bilan Family hopes the war in Ukraine is a distant memory soon. If you wish to donate to the Bilans and other affected families, visit crossroadsmqt.com.

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