Children in a war-torn town in Ukraine who attend school in a bomb shelter need electricity, and Kelowna Stands With Ukraine (KSWU) is helping out in the best way that they can - with food and community.
The Kelowna-based not-for-profit organization, founded by Denys Storozhuk, raised $4,900 at the first of two Ukrainian buffet fundraisers that was held on March 4.
At the event, local chefs collaborated with recently displaced Ukrainian chefs to create traditional and modern dining options.
The leftover food was redistributed to refugee families living in Kelowna.
The next event will be held on May 6, at the First Baptist Church. Storozhuk suggests that people buy their tickets in advance as they will likely sell out quickly.
“We were surprised that the event sold out,” said Storozhuk.
The funds raised in the ticket sales and in the silent auction will be used to buy a generator for a school close to the front lines, in Kovalivka. A woman who fled the war and landed in Kelowna reached out to Storozhuk for help with the school. Once a relationship between the school and Kelowna was formed, the headmaster for the school, Valery Shulga, issued a formal request for help to Kelowna Stands With Ukraine.
“Very often during a bomb raid, children are forced to spend time in dark, unlit bomb shelters,” said Shulga.
She said that because of the constant destruction of Ukrainian energy structures by the Russian military, there is a shortage of power across the country.
“Due to the lack of electricity, it is not possible to organize a hot meal for the children.”
The headmaster requested a 22Kw generator that costs approximately $10,000. Storozhuk hopes to be able to buy the generator quickly and will use any additional funds to help people in Ukraine and those that have been displaced by the war and are living in Kelowna.
KSWU has already purchased and delivered 15 generators to Ukraine, in addition to sending tactical gear like bulletproof vests and night vision goggles.