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Fat Tuesday 2022: Ukraine war weighs heavy on early Paczki Day customers at Weber’s Bakery in Garfield Ridge

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CHICAGO (WLS) — As Chicagoans pick up their paczkis for Fat Tuesday, the war in Ukraine is still weighing heavy for those with ties to eastern Europe.

Weber’s Bakery in Chicago’s Southwest Side Garfield Ridge neighborhood opened at 4 a.m. to prepare those paczkis, the delicious Polish doughnut-like pastries traditionally had for Mardi Gras.

But this year is definitely a little different.

The invasion in Ukraine is on the minds of the Polish community in Chicago.

WATCH: Chicagoans stock up on paczkis for Fat Tuesday

Poland borders Ukraine, and many Ukrainians have been fleeing to Poland after the Russian invasion ensued.

SEE MORE: Russia pummels Ukraine’s No. 2 city and convoy nears Kyiv

Those picking up their treats early Tuesday talked about keeping Ukrainians and eastern European tradition in their hearts.

“Especially now, you wanna get, you know, with all the different ethnicities, you wanna make sure we get everybody together,” Tom Kotin said.

Chicago is home to one of the United States’ largest Ukrainian populations, with more than 50,000 Ukrainian-Americans living in the Chicago area.

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“We actually moved away, and the sense of community is something we always missed, and it’s so great to be back. It’s definitely a special city,” Victoria Nash said.

Some 200,000 Ukrainians live in Illinois altogether.

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