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Local Ukrainian restaurant owner grateful for community support as war rages on

On Thursday, the Senate passed a massive $1.7 trillion spending bill with another round of military and economic aid to Ukraine.

This happened just one day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed Congress. It will now head to the House, before a final sign-off by President Biden.

Here in the Coachella Valley, News Channel 3's Samantha Lomibao spoke with a local Ukrainian-owned business that has received support since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

“It says Slava Ukraine which means Glory to Ukraine," said Iryna Pyle, Owner of Haus of Pizza.

It’s a saying that Pyle lives by. Since 2008, she has made the Coachella Valley her home. But her family, friends and hometown are in Ukraine.

“My family and friends are in Ukraine and they do not want to leave the country because they know if they leave, the Russians will easily take their homes and cities and villages," Pyle explained. "So that’s why it’s very important for Ukrainians to stay and fight for their freedom, for their Ukrainian flag."

We spoke with Pyle back in February when the Russian invasion first happened. She tells us that until now, her mother and brother remain the middle of the war. Her brother is on the front lines with the Ukrainian army.

“My mother writes, sometimes she’s saying she’s not able to hear anything from my brother for like a week or two because he doesn’t have cellphone reception and they’re on the fields. It’s wet, it’s cold, it’s windy, you know.”

But what has changed for Pyle over the last 10 months is the significant amount of help and support she’s received from the community, at her restaurant Haus of Pizza.

“Very pleasant with Coachella Valley support because people are coming and donating some money that’s going to Ukrainian army," she said. "I’m able to ship everything and I’m able to send money and they need those little things.”

It’s not just the Coachella Valley supporting Pyle, but the entire united states and several other countries getting behind to uplift her home country.

“The speech yesterday from Zelenskyy, the whole world is very pleased to hear that Ukraine fighting for the freedom," Pyle added. "Because of the help from United States and other countries, Ukraine is still able to fight and with your help, we will win. Hopefully, Ukraine will win.”

If you’d like to help donate toward supplies in Ukraine, Pyle says you can head to Haus of Pizza in Palm Desert.

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Samantha Lomibao

Samantha joined KESQ News Channel 3 in May 2021. Learn more about Samantha here here.


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