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Ukraine Independence Day and six month anniversary of invasion weighs on local supporters

War in Ukraine weighs on local volunteers and activists

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.-It is difficult for Katie Teall to believe its been six months since Russia Invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

On the same day Ukraine should be celebrating its Independence Day, the Santa Barbara Chef, caterer and former owner of Montecito Confections is encouraging people to help in anyway they can, like she did earlier this year.

In March, Teall flew to Poland along the border of Ukraine to help World Central Kitchen feed thousands of refugees.

"We were putting out about 8,000 meals a day out of one kitchen, there were kitchens all along the border of Ukraine, but that was the main Central Kitchen in a town called Przemysl."

During one poignant moment a musician played Pete Seeger's "Where Have All The Flowers Gone" outside the cooking tents.

She is part of #chefsforukraine and hopes to keep volunteering for World Central Kitchen (

"We were just in there with our sleeves rolled up, chopping, prepping the kitchen and boxing up things loading them up, and taking them to all these people that were displaced. It really affected me when I came home, still to this day I think about those people," said Teall.

When she returned she started planning a June fundraiser at the Maritime Museum called Fisherman for Ukraine. The money raised went to WCK's ongoing efforts.

"There is just no end in sight it is heartbreaking, so all we can do is keep going and I just hope there isn't any kind of war weary, people get war weary they kind of forget and that is going to be the main problem."

Teall is one of many locals showing they care.

Tom Moyer posted Ukraine Flags along State and Los Positas and Hollister and Storke and Hollister as a daily reminder of the war.

Janet Reineck of World Dance for Humanity in Santa Barbara has also raised funds and awareness about the conflict and the people fleeing the invasion.

The nonprofit's website ( )said they have raised nearly $200,000 that has helped 20,000 refugees.

Many people including Dr. Bob Dodge of Ventura are concerned about the shelling that appears to be targeting the Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility.

"Such an attack would be catastrophic in the region."

Dr. Dodge is a Ventura family physician who is President of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles.

He links concerns to climate change.

"Recent scientific studies released just in the past few weeks have confirmed that the long feared dangers of nuclear war are actually far greater due to the potential catastrophic climate effects that would follow even a regional nuclear war, potentially causing a global famine."

He said there are about 12,700 nuclear weapons in the world.

"We are closer today to the brink of nuclear war that at anytime in the nuclear age," said Dodge.

He believes people can play a role in demanding an end to the threat.

Dr. Dodge said there is a coalition called Back from The Brink that calls for verifiable agreement among nuclear nations to eliminate their nuclear arsenals while advocating for common sense policies. He serves on the steering committee.

"There is also a global Avaaz petition calling on all states, parties to the United Nationals Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to urge the review conference, which is happening right now, to call for a ban on all fighting near nuclear plants, demilitarizing them and creating a safe zone of 30 kilometers around these nuclear plants, everyone is encouraged to sign," said Dodge.

For a link to Back from the Brink visit:

For information on the Avaaz petition visit:

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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