Chicago businesses show support for Ukraine


Jacqueline Cardenas

Maria Estella Parra, 59, sewing Ukranian flags together at W.G.N. Flag & Decorating Co. located at 7984 S. South Chicago Ave.

Local Chicago businesses including restaurants, retail stores and flag making companies have found ways to support Ukrainian people and bring awareness to clientele about the Russian invasion.

Along with the Wiener’s Circle’s sign that reads “We stand with Ukraine” off N Clark Street only 20 minutes away from DePaul’s Student Center, the hot dog stand decided to show their support by selling T-shirts with their logo imprinted on them in Ukraine’s yellow and blue flag colors.

Zach Osipczuk, a bar manager at the Wiener’s Circle, said what compelled the staff to show support for Ukraine was that they “believe in the little guy,” and they wanted to see innocent people live peacefully.

Out of 300 T-shirts ordered, around half of them have been sold, each priced at $30. Ari Levy, the owner of Wiener’s Circle, said that he plans to cover the rest of the costs if fewer than 300 t-shirts are sold.

“We’re sensitive, we’re doing as much as we can to help be a voice for the community,” Levy said.

All the proceeds are going to Razom, a Ukrainian non-profit organization made up of volunteers and the Ukrainian National Fund.

Another local business showing support for Ukraine is The Made Shop,4440 N. Milwaukee Ave., roughly an hour from DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus.

Owner Christina Parker said she started with one “<3 Ukraine” T-shirt for herself and later decided to make a few more for proceeds. Seeing YouTube videos of Ukrainian children being killed in the attacks moved her, as a mother of two young boys, to launch the T-shirt campaign.

“I can’t imagine having to pick up and start somewhere fresh, I wouldn’t even know what to do,” Parker said.

Parker expanded her support beyond her $20 Ukraine T-shirts and began making tote bags with similar designs. More than half of the proceeds will be going to

Parker said she feels like she’s “on a cloud right now” because of the appreciative phone calls she has received from clientele throughout the week. She wants to continue to show support for other social movements that arise.

Besides tees and totes, one can take the Red Line from Fullerton to 79th and arrive at W.G.N. Flag & Decorating Co., located at 7984 S. South Chicago Ave., where workers have been “cranking out as many Ukraine flags as possible,” according to vice president and CEO Carl “Gus” Porter III.

Seamstresses Maria Estella Parra and Guadalupe Rinconeño have been sewing every bit of blue and yellow material they have together. They have been producing only Ukrainian flags this past week.

“My girls are doing their absolute best to keep up with demand and keep them going through production,” Porter said.

Porter said they have received orders from businesses, but that most of the orders have come from ordinary civilians.

Porter said it reminded him of people uniting and supporting those affected after the 9/11 terrorist attack because every American wanted something red, white and blue.

“Whether it was a pin on their shirt, whether it was a flag hanging outside, it was constant,” Porter said. “We are seeing that exact same support for Ukraine right now.”

Whereas many businesses have recently started to showcase their support for Ukraine, Tryzub Ukrainian Kitchen began theirs eight years ago when Russia first began occupying Crimea.

Myron Lewyckyj, one of the restaurant owners, said that while their goal is highlighting Ukrainian culture, history, cuisine and art to the American public, they have centered their support for Revive Soldier Ukraine.

Since 2014, the restaurant has collected medical supplies to ship to the nonprofit organization in Ukraine which helps bring injured Ukrainian soldiers to the U.S.

Lewyckyj said they have hosted dinners at the restaurant for the soldiers in their honor and have put their placards on display for people to help support the organization.

“We’re doing anything we possibly can,” Lewyckyj said.

Lewyckyj said that if people would like to meaningfully help Ukraine, calling local congressmen is among the best ways.

“If anyone has ever wanted to intercede for the underdog, the innocent, to fight for justice, to fight for freedom, to fight for good, this is the opportunity to do it,” Lewyckyj said.

Tryzub Ukrainian Kitchen is located at the heart of Ukrainian Village, at 2201 W. Chicago Ave.