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Jersey City NJ group holds charity run for Ukrainian orphanage – NorthJersey.com

Around 70 runners and walkers gathered at Liberty State Park in Jersey City Saturday morning for a 5K charity race to raise money to support families in Ukraine more than six months after Russia invaded. 
Held four days after Ukraine’s Independence Day, the event raised more than $2,000 to purchase toys, medical supplies and first aid support for an orphanage in Lviv, as well as to help construct a bomb shelter for the orphanage housed in a former school for the deaf, said organizer Oksana Condon, president of Ukrainian Jersey City, a nonprofit that promotes Ukrainian culture and education in Jersey City. 
“For them to have a comfortable time in school and being able to proceed with the school, we’re helping them to accommodate the basement into a bomb shelter, which requires specific doors, a specific treatment, so they can stay there and during the sirens they can still learn and grow up,” Condon said. 
More:NJ woman got approval to bring her Ukrainian family to the US. Here’s how she did it.
The nonprofit also received a $5,000 grant from Richmond County Savings Foundation to help purchase an ambulance in Ukraine.
The second annual Vyshyvanka Run is named after the traditional embroidered shirts, white flowy tops with colorful stitching designs that some of the race-goers wore – including Chili, a small brown and white dog covered in a white and red number with tassels swinging as he trotted on the sidewalk. The charity event was held days after the 31st anniversary of Ukraine’s issuance of its Declaration of Independence in 1991.
More:Son of Ukrainian family in NJ joins fight against Russia
Bunches of yellow and blue balloons – the colors on Ukraine’s flag – framed the running path overlooking the Statue of Liberty and 13 massive flagpoles supporting fluttering American flags. Race-goers wore flower crowns with ribbons and letter beaded bracelets with “RUN UJC” printed in black text on white cubes. Before the race, men and women sporting Vyshyvanka tops and athletic bottoms warmed up with a Zumba aerobics-like sequence. 
Irena Lerman left Kyiv in May and she joined the Ukrainian community in Jersey City, where she said everyone has been welcoming.
“We faced war heavily in Kyiv before,” Lerman said. “Ukraine will definitely win.”
This was Lerman’s first time running a race, which went “better than expected,” especially since she accidentally ran with a group of more experienced runners. 
New Jersey is home to an estimated 57,600 people of Ukrainian ancestry, the fourth-most of any state behind New York, California and Pennsylvania, according to 2019 U.S. census data. Around 16,000 people in New Jersey were born in Ukraine, according to Census figures. 
More:To Ukraine, with love: North Jersey women sending equipment to soldiers on the front lines
Almost two in three Ukrainian children have been displaced amid the fighting, the United Nations estimates
Ukrainian Jersey City is also currently working to help 106 refugee families. Those who wish to contribute can visit www.ukrainianjc.com/donations.


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