LAKEWOOD, Ohio — Food is a shared experience that surpasses language barriers and borders. It has the ability to educate you about a culture in one bite, and now, it's uniting Clevelanders for a common cause.
"There's a great many places that are doing this," Immigrant Son Brewing owner Andrew Revy says of the effort, "and that's what it's all about: Coming together, celebrating, and sometimes commiserating."
Pierogi Week was already set before Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Now, at most participating restaurants, ordering the traditional Eastern European dish also means supporting Ukrainian refugees. It's a cause that hits home for Revy, whose parents are from Hungary.
"My father left two weeks before the revolution in 1956, and he was in the Hungarian Army," Revy told 3News. "It does bring back memories of stories he told, escaping in the middle of the night with a group crossing the Austrian border with guards with AK-47s and German Shepard dogs."
Revy's mother and father had a team rallying support to finally be allowed in the United States as a married couple. He says watching stories about Ukrainian refugees has his mom thinking some could soon be facing similar struggles to her own.
"The city of Cleveland is a city of immigrants," he said, "and part of the ethos of what we're about here is culture."
There are a lot of memories attached to food, and Revy, along with many other local restaurant owners, are hopeful Cleveland's Pierogi Week will help do some good. He gives credit to Market Garden Brewery for spearheading the idea of donating a portion of the proceeds to Ukraine.
The money will be going to the International Rescue Committee, which works with displaced families.