Rachael Ray takes trip to Ukraine to build kitchen in hospital, deliver ice cream machine to orphans
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Rachael Ray has made a secret trip to war-torn Ukraine to build a kitchen at a children’s hospital and deliver a huge ice cream machine to orphans.
The celebrity chef traveled to Lviv, the largest city in western Ukraine, to refurbish the kitchen at the area’s Children’s Hospital with the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) and Ukraine Friends.
Ray, 54, also donated a 200-pound commercial Vevor ice cream maker and a floor cleaner for the orphanage, which they had requested, before teaching the children to cook.
“I am just grateful that they allow me to be part of their community and their effort. It is a moral imperative to be here,” Ray told The Post.
“I am funding this with my own money — this is how I want to spend my money,” Ray added. “People here in Ukraine, they continue on with their lives despite whatever happens. I am in such awe of that.
“We all fight about petty things, but you come here and realize all the things you have to be grateful for.
Ray said the New York-based non-profit UCCA and its president Andriy Futey helped her make her fourth trip in a year, “They and he are the reason I can get in and out and be safe.”
The UCCA has delivered tens of millions of dollars in direct aid, medical equipment protective gear, generators and humanitarian assistance.
Ray and her partners also equipped an entire kitchen at a Lviv orphanage and taught locals how to cook and feed the orphans.
She continued: “I have felt so close to the Ukrainian people during this war, where they have been subjected to so much cruelty and destruction.
“When I watch Ukraine fight every day, I don’t feel sadness, I feel strength.”
“I have done four trips, and I will continue to go there until I’m dead or until the fight is over.
“There is no excuse for not doing this.
“That is my promise to these people. I have never seen such strength.
“Children — 8, 10, 12 years old, shame all of us with the strength they have in this horrible fight. “
On the most recent trip, she helped deliver laptops for kids and cataract surgery equipment as well.
The UCCA is also sending a shipment of refurbished ambulances for the front lines.
Ray also took part in cooking lessons with orphans along with fellow celebrity chefs Noah Sims and Emeril Lagasse, who appeared via Zoom.
A source said, “Laughter, something not often heard these days in Ukraine, was heard as Rachael and Emeril were able to, at least, help the orphans take their mind off this horrible war, if only briefly.
“Emeril … made a promise to them, and to Rachael, that he was so moved by the experience, he decided he wants to travel to Ukraine in-person with Rachael on her next visit to be there for the kids.
“Plans are underway to make this happen.”
Ray is already making plans to return for a fifth time, possibly as early as this summer as the war shows no sign of ending.
Ray added, “There is so much more that is needed to help these children and I will not stop trying to do what I can, even if it’s as simple as giving a young orphan hope for a safe future.
“Without hope we have nothing.
“The people of Ukraine continue to need our help and the support of people everywhere.”
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