Barred bakers from Ukraine discuss emotional toll of war
BARRE, Vermont (WCAX) — For the owners of Rise Up Bakery in Barre, the war in Ukraine is personal.
As Jim and Larissa Haas go through the daily motions of baking bread over a wood fire, they’re also keeping an ear out for news from home.
Larissa grew up and spent most of her life in Kyiv. Since February 24, she has watched in horror as Russia continues to attack the country.
“My mother lives less than a kilometer away. My school is there and there was another bombing recently less than a mile from Kyviv which is also less than a mile from my house which is there and all our stuff is still there,” said Larissa.
She and Jim say they are in constant contact with people in Ukraine, including Larissa’s mother, who arrived safely in Poland but decided to return home.
“She is afraid of getting lost. She doesn’t know the language very well. She doesn’t want to be dependent there,” Larissa explained.
Jim did not grow up in Ukraine, but lived and worked there for 28 years. During this time he married Larissa, they raised three children and they opened their first bakery.
“It’s kind of something we take with us, we live with,” Jim said.
The Haas say it’s time for the United States and other countries to increase their aid to Ukraine.
“Ukraine is a bit lonely there,” Jim said. “They need support. They don’t ask for money. They are asking for weapons and the West must act faster.
According to the World Bank, so far, $60 billion in damage has been caused to the country’s infrastructure. Larissa said the volunteers were also worried about the damage to people’s mental health.
“She said the trauma they have is so deep that it’s impossible to process it,” Larissa said she heard from volunteers in Ukraine. “He will stick with people for the rest of their lives.”
The Haas are participating in the fundraiser and have so far raised $20,000. This money is used to send clothing and medical supplies. You can donate at Rise Up Bakery or online.
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