Ukrainian restaurant owner arranges fundraising dinner for Red Cross appeal

Lana Zoubata has organised the fundraiser at her restaurant Dnister

Lana Zoubata has organised the fundraiser at her restaurant Dnister - Credit: Lana Zoubata

The owner of a Ukrainian restaurant has organised a fundraising dinner to help those in her war-torn homeland.

Lana Zoubata has run Dnister, now in Romford Road, Forest Gate, since 2005.

The restaurant has been hosting collection points along with Sawmill Cafe in West Ham Lane and Unit Six Cafe in the Stratford Centre.

Lana said she really thanked those helping out with donations.

Her mother is still in western Ukraine and Lana said she is in contact with her every day.

She told the Recorder: "Everyone now is trying to help as much as they can by sending donations for Ukraine.

"I am originally from Ukraine, my mum is there as well. She really can't move to the Poland border to escape.

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"It is so so so very hard.

"There were a few attacks from the air, it shows they can reach everywhere. Nowhere is safe."

Russia's invasion began more than three weeks ago and has seen a number of cities shelled, with around 3.5 million refugees fleeing Ukraine according to United Nations figures.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed.

Lana said: "You can't even watch and you can't really live your normal life here because it seems from that morning, everything changed.

"First it was shock and already more than three weeks, everything is the same here, everyone is working, moving, living their life.

"All our normal lives, normal work goes aside and we try to help whenever we can."

Lana, who moved to the UK from Ukraine 25 years ago and lives in Woodford, said she has joined a number of voluntary groups to offer support.

"I noticed how people came together to help each other," she added.

The restaurant will be hosting the dinner to raise money for the Ukrainian Red Cross appeal.

Starting on March 25 at 7pm, the event costs £45 per person, including food, a drink and live music.

Lana said: "We cancelled all our reservations for parties. There's no time for dancing because everyone is stressed and worried about what will be in our motherland.

"That's why we organised a fundraising event. We would like to bring more people to the restaurant and can introduce more Ukrainian food, with Ukrainian music as well.

"After our collection points, this is our first fundraising event. If it's successful, we will be happy to do this more often."

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