South Florida smoothie shop owner hosts fundraiser for Ukraine

Posted at 4:52 PM, Mar 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 10:38:07-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — As the war continues in Ukraine, here at home those with ties to the European country are stepping up to help.

Serving up smoothies behind the counter is where owner Iryna Panyukova lives out her American dream.

"I wanted to see if I could do it and I could, so now I have two Smoothie King stores, one in Deerfield and one in Boynton Beach," Panyukova said.

But back at home, thousands of miles away in Ukraine is where Panyukova's parents and brothers family are living a nightmare.

"Ukrainian people, they are very nice people very friendly, but they are also very proud people. But if someone tried to take their freedom they will fight," Panyukova said.

After the invasion from Russia, they sought refuge in Romania and were taken in by strangers who welcomed them with open arms.

"They just grabbed everything that they could like some suitcases with the clothes whatever they fit in the car and they just left," Panyukova said.

And now Panyukova wants to do her part and is stepping up to provide some relief. She's hosting a fundraiser this weekend and collecting donations here at her Smoothie King in Boynton Beach where proceeds will go toward helping Ukrainian families.

"I just want it to stop, I want people to stop losing their lives," Panyukova said.

In all, Panyukova will be hosting two fundraisers: one on Saturday at her Deerfield Beach location (792 S. Federal Hwy) and the other on Sunday in Boynton Beach (1313 W Boynton Beach Blvd).