I know what it means when you have nothing left, so our aim is to protect and help everyone we can
On February 24, Serhii woke up from the sound of an explosion in Boryspil but he thought he was just having a bad dream from his Donetsk past, so he kept sleeping. When Serhii finally woke up and saw long queues of people at shops and ATMs and kilometer-long traffic jams out of his window, he realized it wasn’t a dream. The war had begun in Ukraine.
He did not go anywhere – Serhii knows from the experience of 2014 that it can be very dangerous to leave immediately due to traffic jams and a large crowd of people. On the first day of war, he was supporting his followers, he was sharing with them the experience of surviving the war, giving advice if asked. On the third day, Serhii moved into his friend’s family place so as not to be alone. And together with Artem, they decided that they should help people. They threw a call in the public chat of their residential complex and began to cook hot food in home kitchens. Serhii immediately contacted the closest group of the Territorial Defense Forces and agreed with the guys that they would help him find premises where he could cook in large quantities, and he would provide them with hot delicious food in return. This way, the first kitchen was opened to feed the Territorial Defense and civilians in their neighborhood.
At first, Serhii and Artem were getting everything at their own expense – all the groceries and disposable packaging. During the first week, they were cooking about 200-250 servings a day – at the maximum capacity of their kitchen. Later, they teamed up with other volunteers who were also feeding people. This way, together they could cover the needs of as many people as possible. Today, under the patronage of Serhii, there are 4 kitchens, each of which produces from 400 to 1500 meals per day. It is over 1.6 tons of ready-made food daily.
When Serhii’s team reached a necessary level of operational stability, they have created a large volunteer fund “Our Goal” (Nasha Meta in Ukrainian). The goal of the foundation is peace in Ukraine and health of Ukrainians. The fund has several activities: while Serhii is responsible for hot meals, there are people engaged in the supply of uniforms for the military, those who organize housing for refugees and internally displaced people, and those who are responsible for the supply of medicaments.
They are mainly working in Kyiv and the region but are also sending humanitarian aid to the Donetsk region. Recently, Serhii says, ready-made food has become less relevant in Kyiv, and now they are cooking mostly for hospitals, the Territorial Defense, and centers for displaced people. People are no longer staying in the bomb shelters, so they need groceries, necessary medicines, and warm clothes more than a portion of ready-made food.
Serhii has no special plans after the victory. He understands that the restaurant culture in Ukraine will not be a priority area in the rebuilding of the country, but he does not want to leave to work abroad. Serhii plans to develop the “Our Goal” fund and help rebuild Ukraine.
Before the War
A brand chef in the Kyiv restaurant chain
Site of Operation