Nashville woman sews hearts to raise money for family in Ukraine

Posted at 5:34 PM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 19:41:29-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Ukrainian-born woman who lives in Nashville is raising money to help her family and friends still trapped in the war-torn country.

Ina Bednarska is making heart-shaped key chains that are the same color as the Ukrainian flag.

In Bednarska's apartment complex commons area, the somewhat soothing sound of a working sewing machine hummed away Tuesday morning.

"This is my little project, Hearts for Ukraine," said Bednarska. "It's meant to help my friends and family. I'm making handmade key chains out of leather."

The trinket is the signature blue and yellow that's come to be recognized as support for Ukraine.

They're $15 and bring Bednarska some hope in a tough time.

Photos: Woman starts 'Hearts for Ukraine' shop to help family

"I chose to use this design because I believe love and hope is all we need right now," she said.

She's has been in Nashville for four years, but was born in Donetsk, Ukraine.

The past week has been awful for her, but for the many family members and friends she has in the country, it's the kind of hell only war brings.

At first, Bednarska donated her own money, but she realized she would need more for her multiple cousins who are still in the country. Plus, there's her 86-year-old grandmother who fled Kyiv last week and who Bednarska wants to escape to Poland.

So, she decided to do what she's good at — crafts.

"The moment I started making these little hearts with the help of my friend, I felt a little bit better," said Bednarska. "It's a form of my therapy because I know I'm making something. The amount of love and support that I've gotten from all of my friends here, it's just. It's more than I could ever imagine and hope for. If there are other people who want to help, I'll be glad to share this little project of mine."

The blue and yellow heart-shaped key chains are reused from old airplane seats.

Bednarska is joined by her neighbor and good friend Lindsey Estes.

Estes has no ties to Ukraine other than the mutual friendship that developed between her and Bednarska over crafts. It seemed natural for her to help.

"It broke my heart to see the images last week. I spent most of last week like everyone else, scrolling social media and seeing everything," said Estes. "This has helped us feel like we're doing something about it in our own little way."

Bednarska said the hearts are special to her because the material has been in the sky, which is where she wants to be, flying home.

Since she can't, the trinkets serve as a hopeful contrast to the bombs raining down near her loved ones.

"On one hand I'm sorry that I'm not there fighting alongside," said Bednarska. "But we are fighting in our little local way. I hope maybe somebody will join me in this fight."

Bednarska is selling the key chains on Etsyand more information can be found on her Instagram page "Hearts for Ukraine."