Northern Ontario communities raise funds for humanitarian aid in Ukraine

Sudbury’s Ukrainian Seniors' Centre has turned to perogies and cabbage rolls to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine as the Russian invasion continues.

Residents in West Nipissing encouraged to decorate with blue and yellow lights in solidarity

Residents at Sudbury’s Ukrainian Seniors' Centre have put homemade Ukrainian flags on display along their balconies to express support for people in the country, following a Russian invasion. (Jonathan Migneault/CBC)

Sudbury's Ukrainian Seniors' Centre has turned to perogies and cabbage rolls to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine as the Russian invasion continues.

Sandra Sharko, the centre's president, said it was difficult to keep up with demand as their phone lines were flooded with calls of support, and food orders.

She said all food proceeds throughout the month of March will go to charities, including the Red Cross and the Ukrainian National Federation of Canada, to help people in Ukraine.

"I think the the public all over the world is very upset and angered and saddened by someone thinking they can just walk into a country and bomb their homes and kill their civilians and take over the country," Sharko said.

In addition to Ukrainian dishes, residents and volunteers at the centre have been sewing Ukrainian flags, which they are selling to support the same charitable causes. The flags have adorned the exterior of the centre in a pastiche of blue and yellow. 

Sharko said the conflict in Ukraine has hit close to home for residents, volunteers and staff members at the centre.

"We have staff members here who have family in Ukraine, and we also have residents who have family in Ukraine," she said.

"And my daughter, of course, has a personal friend who lived here and has gone to Ukraine. All she does is watch TV looking for a blonde at the other end. She has no communication with her, has not been able to reach her."

Sharko said some staff members have been able to contact  their loved ones in Ukraine, but the centre's receptionist was still trying to reach her nephew there.

Residents and volunteers at Sudbury's Ukrainian Seniors' Centre have been busy making perogies. All proceeds from the sale of perogies, cabbage rolls and homemade flags throughout the month of March are supporting charities like the Red Cross. (Jonathan Migneault/CBC)

Maria Tkach, a resident at the centre, said she has family in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. 

"I hope this will finish because this is not not good. Not good.," she said. "I remember the last war."

In Sault Ste. Marie, St. Mary's Ukrainian Catholic Church has planned a prayer service for the people of Ukraine on Sunday, and has invited other congregations in the city to participate.

"It's not really my job all the time to preach at them, but just simply to listen to their concerns and be a presence in their lives," said parish priest Father Michael Hayes. 

"That is hopefully one that provides some kind of stability and hope for what is to come."

He said the church will also raise funds for the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, which provides humanitarian relief in Ukraine.

Hayes said he has been to Ukraine several times and has close connections in the country that are "like family" to him.

"I'm worried, heartbroken," he said. "And not just about Ukraine itself, but what a wrong step by someone could lead to a much greater and even more horrifying conflict." 

Blue and yellow in West Nipissing

In West Nipissing the municipality has encouraged residents and businesses to decorate buildings with blue and yellow lights Friday night, to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

"It provides us the opportunity to be in some solidarity, unity and to reflect on the people that have either lost their lives, lost relatives or are worried," said Joanne Savage, mayor of the Municipality of West Nipissing.

Savage said the local power generating plant has already strung up some lights, and she hopes others in the community will join in. 


Jonathan Migneault

Digital reporter/editor

Jonathan Migneault is a CBC digital reporter/editor based in Sudbury. He is always looking for good stories about northeastern Ontario. Send story ideas to

With files from Martha Dillman


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?