Medford Responds – a benefit for Ukrainian refugees 3:00 PM

You are all invited to a special Benefit Variety Show supporting Ukrainian refugees seeking shelter in the Rogue Valley. The event is called MEDFORD RESPONDS- a Benefit Variety Show. It will be on Sunday, November 19 at 3 p.m. and is sponsored by First Presbyterian Church in Medford at 85 South Holly.  The event hopes to raise funds for Uniting For Ukraine Rogue Valley (U4URV), a community organization established to help people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine to find safe haven in the Rogue Valley. The event is a variety show that has been planned to entertain and inspire. The event is open to all and is free of charge.

Performers will include:

  • Iryna Kudielina, a gifted Ukrainian pianist
  • Lynn Sjolund and the Boys doing comic relief with the “Fugue for Tinhorns”
  • A jazzy version of “The Manhattan Spiritual” by Rob Griswell-Lowry, gifted organist and David King-Gabriel on drums
  • Doris Sjolund and Kathy Gordon doing more comic relief in two songs called “Sisters”- one by Brahms and one by Irving Berlin- accompanied by Sue Silfvast
  • Extended Circle, a retro rock group singing Three Dog Night’s “Joy to The World” and John Lennon’s “Imagine”.
  • Chris Hamby, from The Collaborative Theater, singing “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables
  • Former member of the Kingston Trio and The Brother’s Four, Bob Haworth, singing a medley of “500 Miles” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” and another medley of “God Bless the USA”, “This Is My Country”, and “God Bless America”.
  • Kolinonka, a Ukrainian Folk Troupe, singing Ukrainian folk music
  • A First Presbyterian Ensemble singing a moving version of “Here I Am Lord”.
  • It ends with Kolinonka singing the Ukrainian Anthem

The sponsoring organization, U4URV has come to the humanitarian aid of 22 families of Ukrainian refugees who are currently living in our valley and are unable to return to their homes, due to the ongoing war. U4URV focuses on two stages: 1) getting Ukrainians here to safety and shelter and 2) assisting them in their efforts to become self-sufficient while they are in America. U4URV started soon after the invasion of Ukraine.

As refugees arrive in the Rogue Valley, the organization helps the families as they settle into a new and bewildering life. “We started sponsoring families or individuals to come to safety in our beautiful Rogue Valley. As families were aided in coming here, host families were found to help shelter these special people.  The host families are a critical resource for each refugee’s success here in America.  They provide homes for our guest families and are crucial in helping our guests navigate life here”, said Dr. Scott Bandoroff of Ashland, the director of the organization. “We have support teams that assist our guest families in accessing social services, obtaining medical care, arranging transportation, providing meals, enrolling children in school, acquiring interpreters, aiding children and parents in learning English, and meeting other needs.” Donations help to cover the cost of resettlement, including the provision of necessities for refugee families until employment can be secured- auto loans, emergency medical care, and after school activities for children, etc. The venue has seating limited to 300 people so come early to be seated. Please join us for this fun and inspiring afternoon and help us raise much needed funds.

U4URV operates under the umbrella of Ashland’s Havurah Shir Hadash.  Volunteers and host families are in many other churches in Ashland. Most of the families are in Ashland so that they can be in a community with Ukrainian friends who have been through like situations. Donations have been given by churches, benefit concertgoers, and individuals.  The donations have helped fly more and more families to the U.S., cover the cost of resettlement, provide refugee families with necessities until they can be self-sufficient, and offer host families financial support.