OBI Seafoods is expanding its support for relief efforts of its Ukrainian employees to assist those displaced by the war with relocation, food, medical care and housing.
The effort began with and is led by two employees of the seafood processing company, Maryna Molokopoi and Douglas Impagliazzo, a married couple who live in Odessa, Ukraine when not working in Alaska during the salmon season.
When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the couple evacuated their home and relocated to Moldova to assist in the wartime aid effort. With support from OBI Seafoods and dozens of individuals and their families worldwide, the couple and a small group of fellow refugees were able to provide over $70,000 in support for refugees.
When the war broke out, “they jumped into action,” said Mark Palmer, chief executive officer of OBI Seafoods. “They were in communication with not only OBI employees, but employees who work for other companies in the Alaska seafood industry, getting them across the border and into safe housing. We’re helping to support (them) financially, and firmly believe in the work they are doing.”
The accomplishments of Molokopoi and Impagliazzo were critical in helping Ukrainian OBI crew members, family members and others safely escape the war zone and resettle in various neighboring countries, OBI officials said.
Further aid was directed toward transporting medicine and medical supplies to Ukrainian hospitals and providing housing and food for the displaced. In just 64 days, their group completed over 50 supply delivery runs into Ukraine and throughout Moldova.
Now back in Alaska for the salmon season, Impagliazzo and Molokopoi are continuing their efforts remotely, working with their Ukraine connections and other grassroot organizations with the support of OBI Seafoods and its employees. The company has donated 1,580 cases of canned pink salmon, 37,920 cans in all, which was delivered to Ukraine in May.
OBI is also offering its employees the option of directly contributing to Ukraine relief organizations, with the company matching every dollar donated.
“We were able to accomplish so much with just six people on our team,” Impagliazzo said. “To have a company of 2,000 come together in support of these great organizations can have an amazing impact.”
OBI Seafoods was formed in 2020 through a merger with Ocean Beauty Seafoods and Icicle Seafoods, two of the oldest and most successful seafood companies in Alaska. The company operates 10 processing plants throughout the state and is a leading producer of fresh, frozen and canned Alaska seafood.