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Greater Cleveland Ukrainians say their hearts are in their homeland

Oksana has spent 12 of the 20 years she's lived in America cooking up fresh pierogi and stuffed cabbage at Mama Maria's in Parma.

PARMA, Ohio — When you walk through the doors of Mama Maria's on State Road in Parma, you're immediately hit with a sense of warmth.

It could be from the kitchen, turning out hundreds of homemade jumbo pierogi. But it's also likely from the people, like Oksana, who welcome you as if you're family.

"Every month, every other month, we make a lot of stuffed cabbage, like 3,000," she said.

She's proud of the food she cooks and the country it comes from, but finding joy right now is difficult with far more pressing issues at the forefront of her mind.

"My mom live(s) over there she sit(s) in a basement. I don't know how we can help," Oksana said.

Oksana, like many of the Ukrainian Americans we've talked to, would like to see world leaders doing more for her country, especially for her mom.

"We talk in the morning, she said it's a lot of alarm system(s), they have to go to basement every hour," Oksana said.

But here in Parma, in the restaurant that feels like you're sitting in Mom's kitchen, she says her neighbors are giving her all the support they can.

"Everybody come(s) here and they know the situation. It's a lot of Ukrainian here, it's first, second generation and they can just be strong, but we are here, we are strong. We are here, but over there it's a bad situation," Oksana said.

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