Sudbury seniors' centre raises $150K for humanitarian efforts in Ukraine

In just over a month, Sudbury’s Ukrainian Senior’s Centre has collected about $150,000 to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.

Funds go directly to organizations working in Ukraine

Barbara Smatlanek, a resident of Sudbury's Ukrainian Seniors' Centre, sews a Ukrainian flag. Since March 1, residents and volunteers have been selling food and homemade flags to raise funds for humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. (Jonathan Migneault/CBC)

In just over a month, Sudbury's Ukrainian Senior's Centre has collected about $150,000 to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.

Anna Johnston, the centre's executive director, said they've sent about $100,000 to Ukraine so far through their partnership with the Canada-Ukraine Foundation.

"We were truly overwhelmed with the response we received," Johnston said. 

"You know, people were reaching out to us. People were making things, bringing it to us here. They didn't want a penny. We have ladies making flags and scarves, bracelets, brooches."

Johnston said the centre's residents and some volunteers started making perogies, and sewing Ukrainian flags on March 1. All food and flag proceeds have helped provide medical care, emergency shelter and food for Ukrainians affected by the war.

In addition to those proceeds, the centre hosted a charity gala that generated $23,000 in ticket sales.

Sandra Sharko, the centre's president, said they received donations from across northeastern Ontario.

"We got some from North Bay, Timmins, the Sault, Kapuskasing."

Sharko said it takes about seven days for funds to make their way to organizations working on the front lines in Ukraine.

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)

"I received a letter from the one organization that we've supported before that's in Lviv and that's the Children's Rehabilitation Centre," Sharko said. 

"And they did have 400 children with special needs, or supporting 400 children with special needs and their families. And now they've become a safe haven for another 200 special needs children and their moms, who have fled from the east and the south."

Johnston said they will continue to fundraise and accept donations as long as there is a need in Ukraine.

With files from Cara Nickerson and Markus Schwabe


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