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Clifton banner company creates waiting list to purchase Ukrainian flags due to high demand

Anyone in New Jersey who is looking to purchase a Ukrainian flag may be out of luck.

News 12 Staff

Mar 3, 2022, 12:15 AM

Updated 837 days ago


Anyone in New Jersey who is looking to purchase a Ukrainian flag may be out of luck.
There is now a waiting list to purchase one because so many people wanted a flag to show their support.
“We sold out so early on all our Ukrainian flags…everybody wanted whatever we had,” says Joe Pugliese, of Gates Flag and Banner Company in Clifton.
The last Ukrainian flag that the Gates Flag company sold went to Jeffrey Henry, a retiree, Marine veteran and Bergen County native. Henry purchased the flag for his neighbors Natalia and Alex Taran who are Ukrainian.
When the Tarans went to Ukraine last month to visit family and get baby Mia baptized, they brought Henry back some Ukrainian liquor and a book about the country’s history.
“I read the whole thing. It’s amazing, the story of how this country evolved,” says Henry.
So last week as the Russian tanks rolled across the border into Ukraine, Henry made the hourlong drive from Suffern, New York down to Gates Flag in Clifton and bought what may have been the last Ukrainian flag for sale in New Jersey. Henry then drove home and put the flag on the Tarans’ porch himself while they were out.
“It was really, really touching for us. I took pictures and sent it to our family in Ukraine showing that our American friends are supporting us,” Natalia Taran says. “My husband and I were crying when we saw it when we got home.”
When the Russian invasion began, Natalia says she spent three days crying, unable to sleep or eat as she watched the news and answered phone calls and texts from family in Ukraine. Some were huddled in basements for safety amid the bombing. They told her of growing shortages of baby formula, medical supplies and clothes.
Natalia says that she felt helpless and hopeless. But when she looked out and saw the flag that Henry gifted her, she realized that she could ask her non-Ukrainian friends for help, too.
She called her former boss and friend, Erin Cacciabaudo, owner of Catchy Cafe and Catering in Ho-Ho-Kus, to ask for help.
“She was like, ‘We’re really scared. We need money, we need funds. I never ask anything of you, is there any way you might be able to try and corral people in town,’” says Cacciabaudo.
Cacciabaudo posted on Catch Café’s social media and within a day a donation drive had collected $7,000 and 70 bags of supplies, which were shipped out to Ukraine on Monday.
Natalia says that she now knows that she has many of people who are ready to help.
Gates Flag and Banner is taking names for a waiting list for its next shipment of Ukrainian flags.

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