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Mon-Fri 8:00AM-7:00PM | Sat 9:00AM-3:00PM | 831 Mt. Clinton Pike | 540.437.9020

a bowl of good new logo

Serving comfort food from home and around the world since 2005!

The following is an article written by Jim Sacco and published in the Daily News Record on June 1, 2022. You can read it here or below.


Ukrainian Dish At Bowl Of Good To Help Those Who Fled War

This is their national dish, a beloved cabbage envelope filled with ground beef, carrots and a few other aromatics and spices. It’s called golubtsi in Ukraine. And here, in the back of Bowl of Good on Saturday, with a flurry of fingers and the low chatter of their native tongue, those who escaped the violence in Ukraine are folding hundreds of the favored food. A world away, the sights, the smells and the conversation is home.

“One month ago,” said Oleksandra, who did not give her last name. That’s how long it’s been since she arrived in the United States from Ukraine, walking the final 20 kilometers to the Polish border with her husband and 6-year-old daughter.

One bag with them for three people, all fleeing a town where rockets flew overhead every night since Russia’s invasion began.

Yet, she smiled. Her eyes remain bright, her demeanor warm, her spirit unbroken as she makes the traditional dish. “This,” she said, “is the best food.”

Friday, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., golubtsi will be sold at Harrisonburg’s Bowl of Good, a place no stranger to causes. The money raised, according to owner Katrina Didot, will go to Church World Service to help fund legal fees for Ukrainians seeking refuge from war.

Didot has a soft spot for causes, especially when it comes to Haiti, the place she met her husband while working for an organization that promoted literacy. One of the poorest countries on the planet, whenever a natural disaster struck the island nation, she was always quick to help the cause. Ukraine has been no different, but this strife is man-made — a country at war, its people displaced. “We felt like this was the right time [to help],” Didot said. “What I find is people, when these world events happen, don’t know what to do.”

Didot said that, currently, there are no paths forward for Ukrainians who have come to the U.S. to flee the fighting. They’re here legally under temporary parole, but currently have no status to work. “They don’t have a path forward,” she said. “They don’t fit the normal refugee categories.” And most find watching the news unbearable.

Vita, who also asked her last name not to be used, arrived in the U.S. from Ukraine in 1998. She can’t watch the news anymore. Her heart breaks. “I cannot believe it is happening,” she said. “I can’t even put into words what is going on.” She glanced at 27-year-old Oleksandra and Victoria, a 19-year-old standing next to her, both busy over a bowl full of golubtsi stuffing. “They lost everything,” Vita said. “They came with a little piece of luggage, that’s it. They need to start their lives over here.”

Victoria, who did not give her last name, fled Kharkiv — a city on the front line — and has been in the U.S. for a month and a half. She came with her sister and her family. Five total. Three bags. Quiet and shy, her face lit up when she talked about the welcome she’s received and the way her country and its president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has been handling the unthinkable situation. She said, through Vita translating, that most did not have confidence Zelenskyy would “step up” in tough times. But now, they smile when they talk of him. “We see he’s doing a great job,” Victoria said. The welcome and support they have received since arriving has been nothing short of “amazing,” they said. “We are so grateful,” Vita said. “Since Day 1, received nothing but love and support from community. People I do not know step up and express sorrow to us.”

Victoria and Oleksandra concurred. Since coming stateside, they said locals have expressed nothing but warmth and concern about what is unfolding in their native land. That’s expected. “It’s the Friendly City,” Didot said.