Personal connection to Ukraine conflict inspires new fundraiser

"Sometimes it's hard to believe it's like, look like a movie, you know, or like a computer game, it's just destroyed - completely destroyed," Kateryna Nelson told FOX 9. 

Exactly 20 hours before Russia’s invasion started Nelson was at the airport in Kyiv, leaving a day early from a trip visiting family including her mom and dad. At first, even in West Ukraine bomb scares were frequent. 

Nelson’s brother, his wife, and their 5-year-old son sleeping in their basement inspired Nelson to start fundraising from back home in Superior, Wisconsin. 

Nelson and her husband already have a jewelry and souvenir business called Art Factory Twin Ports, but decided that everything they sell now on Etsy goes to help people living in Ukraine. She’s created several new designs for her popular hot cold drink tumblers, with drawings ranging from the national flower to a burning image of Moscow with the caption "F--- Putin."

"That’s me being polite about it," Nelson said.

She cautions everyone to be careful of anyone claiming to raise money for Ukraine right now after someone on Facebook Marketplace tried to scam her. 

"I think if it was just for regular items we sell I would not be so shocked by this," Nelson said. "But because it was specific to Ukraine it was just blowing my mind."

All the funds raised on Nelson’s Art Factory Twin Ports page go to her family, neighbors, the Ukrainian Army, or several specific organizations she’s researched.

She encourages people to leave notes if they have a donation preference, but know every penny is appreciated. 

"If people are willing to help Ukraine I want them to know right way they can do it," she said.

To shop Nelson’s products and support her fundraiser for Ukraine click HERE or HERE.