As the war in Ukraine grows longer and more terrible with each passing day, efforts to support the war-torn country here in the states have become more passionate than ever. In the Village of Millerton, NY, residents and businesses have become familiar with the fervent humanitarian efforts of Polish-born André Wlodar and his wife Kim Schmidt-Wlodar. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, the husband and wife team have been working tirelessly to raise funds for those Ukrainians tragically displaced as a result of the fighting. As a result, Wlodar has led two successful fundraising events, bringing area business along for support, and has successfully raised over $300,000. Now, one village business housed in a historic building, is opening its doors to Wlodar and his noble cause.
“André’s is a communal effort,” says Svend Lindbaek, owner of the former Gilmor Glass building in Millerton. “That’s what I want my space to represent.” Lindbaek has thus renamed the building Garage Galleri— Galleri with an “i” to denote Svend’s Danish descent—and is collaborating with Wlodar to host community conversations about Ukranian support and give donors and opportunity to pick up Ukranian flags, stickers, totes and t-shirts. “Having André here fulfills two purposes for the space,” says Lindbaek. “It gives people a chance to stay informed about the conflict while also being welcoming to the community. I’m happy to make lively for a great cause.”
The new “headquarters” for Wlodar’s fundraising efforts will allow for the hardworking humanitarian to highlight Sunflower of Peace, the 501(c)3 nonprofit based out of Boston that, according to its website is an, “organization committed to helping Ukrainians affected by the Russian military invasion,” embodied in the image of a sunflower, the national flower of Ukraine. “I have my doors open on weekends so people can stop in,” says Lindbaek. “From André to Sunflower of Peace and all the folks who have donated their time and resources, it’s a communal effort and one that could connect us all.
Stop by and check out Garage Galleri for yourself located at the former Gilmor Glass building at 2 Main St. That’s where the main traffic light is, at the intersection of routes 44 and Route 22.