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Columbus Ukrainian restaurant owner concerned for family amid crisis

“I’m crying 24 hours a day. It’s so hard to keep it inside."
Ongoing crisis hitting close to home for owner of Olesya’s Kitchen
Posted at 9:28 PM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 21:28:46-05

COLUMBUS — Olesya’s Kitchen owner Olesya Whitfield's heart is heavy today because of what’s going on in her home country of Ukraine.

“Back home is scary. Back home, you know, I have a family. My daughter is with her family. I have only one granddaughter who is 9, super scared. Don’t let mom go any second without her; she just holds her in her hands,” Whitfield said.

Meanwhile, as her son is in Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, Whitfield says that he and the rest of her family are in a safe place.

Whitfield started cooking at just 5 years old and moved to Indiana more than 20 years ago for a better life. She opened her restaurant back in 2018.

There, she specializes in Ukrainian food and makes items including soups and dumplings. She says every dish she serves is made with love.

Right now, her family is the first thing on her mind. She tells them to text her every day to make sure they are safe.

“I’m crying 24 hours a day. It’s so hard to keep it inside,” Whitfield added.

The strength that she is showing is the same strength that she is using to help guide her family through this uncertain time. She is a mother and she says that she is not only hurting for Ukrainians, but for Russians too.

“To my family back home, just stay strong, stay safe. It’s so hard to be a long way from you guys and I love you and I hope this is done really really soon,” Whitfield said.