As of March 28, we have reached our goal! On behalf of our families and MCC, thank you for your generous hearts and partnering with us.
Let’s raise $10,000 for Ukraine. Eat perogies and farmer sausage!
No doubt you have watched the horrific images coming out of Ukraine with a feeling of utter helplessness. Canada has the world’s third largest Ukrainian population. We feel it in our bones, too, as our families’ roots are in Ukraine. They fled for their safety during the first and Second World War. One of the many ethnic groups that made up the multicultural mosaic of Russia during the 18th and 19th Centuries was the Mennonites, immigrants with Dutch and German ancestry who had fled their homelands due to religious persecution. At the invitation of Russia’s Catherine the Great in the late 1700s, and with the promise of freedom of religion and language and vast tracts of land, Mennonites moved to farm the fertile soil in Ukraine, living and working peacefully until the Russian Revolution. With starvation and religious persecution soon making life intolerable, many escaped to North America. We are so grateful for Canada’s welcoming invitation and the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), who made their relocation possible. MCC began their charitable work in 1920 in Ukraine as they sought to bring their Mennonite families to safety. For 101 years, they have continued to support refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) and work for peace and justice worldwide. They consistently receive a 5 out of 5-star rating from the independent watchdog Charity Group for their transparency and use of donation dollars. We wholeheartedly support their incredible work.
As MCC already has a presence in Ukraine, they have quickly mobilized to aid Ukrainians displaced by the violence.
Their current work includes:
- In the city of Uman and the Cherkasy region, an MCC partner provides lodging, meals, essential medications, and food items for IDPs and fuel for evacuating people.
- In Zaporizhzhia, an MCC partner is delivering food baskets to the homes of individuals with disabilities.
- In the city of Avdiivka, an MCC partner is providing families that are sheltering in place with food and enough funds to cover basic needs for two weeks.
- An MCC partner is developing plans to support members of the Roma community displaced from Eastern Ukraine; this is likely to include emergency shelter, WASH and food needs. Teachers at the center are also doing informal education and children’s programming.
Naturally, we wanted to help those suffering and displaced and thought what better way than through sales of the Ukrainian staples of perogies and farmer sausage. Together with Franklin and Lorisa Janzen from Helmi’s Perogies, we will donate 100% of sales from Helmi’s and Grandma’s Perogies and Lepp’s Farmer Sausage at both locations for the next two weeks, March 20-April 3. Our goal is to raise $10,000 for MCC to continue its critical work in Ukraine. Even if the war should end soon, they will be working there for many years to come, helping resettle refugees into new homes. It’s a lofty goal, but we know that together with your help, we can do it!
If you can’t make it to either market, you can donate to MCC’s work here.
(Above: Charlotte Lepp’s mother, with her hands in Ukrainian soil, on a return trip to her homeland in 2009. Photo credit to Margaret Ann, Charlotte’s sister.)