Windsor

Leamington resident partners with Ukrainian-based jeweller to raise money for humanitarian aid

When Mandi Quiring was challenged by a friend to raise money for Ukraine, she took it to another level by partnering with a Ukrainian jeweller to auction off a piece. 

More than $1 million raised in Leamington, Kingsville to support Ukraine

Mandi Quiring said she was challenged by a friend to raise $100,000 for Ukraine. Quiring ended up rallying the community and raising about $1 million dollars.
Mandi Quiring said she was challenged by a friend to raise $100,000 for Ukraine. Quiring ended up rallying the community and raising about $1 million dollars. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

When Leamington resident Mandi Quiring was challenged by a friend to raise money for Ukraine, she took it to another level by partnering with a Ukrainian jeweller to auction off unique pieces. 

With the support of a Ukraine-based jewelry company and local residents, Quiring said she ended up raising $1 million dollars in supplies and monetary donations for those in and fleeing the war torn country. 

At first, Quiring was working with local stores to get pieces to auction off. But then, she decided to find a jeweller in Ukraine and reached out to five companies.

The jeweller that responded, Lobortas Classic Jewelry House, designed a pendant specifically for Canadians. 

The piece recently sold at an auction held by Quiring for more than $11,000. But two donors matched the bid, bringing the total amount of donations on the pendant up to $46,000. 

The pendant created by Lobortas Classic Jewlery House, which is located in Kyiv. It was auctioned off for about $11,000, but that bid was matched twice bringing the total donations for the pendant up to $46,000.
The pendant created by Lobortas Classic Jewlery House, which is located in Kyiv. It was auctioned off for about $11,000, but that bid was matched twice bringing the total donations for the pendant up to $46,000. (Submitted by Mandi Quiring)

"Although we've never met, you have two like-minded souls on the opposite ends of the Earth, trying to do some good," Quiring said of her relationship with the company. 

Lobortas Classic Jewelry House, which is located in Kyiv, said it was so impressed with how much the pendant was auctioned off for that it has donated two more pieces to also be included in an upcoming fundraiser. 

"As I already have first experience with an auction in Leamington, I ... can say they are absolutely amazing and crazy," said Amira Itawi, who is the head of international projects for the company.

Partnership meaningful for community

Itawi said their unexpected partnership with people in Leamington means a lot, especially as war rages on around their workers. 

"We still see our jewellers working during the sirens and during the war actually, they still can hear the shots and every morning bad news but they still go to [the] factory and they still produce," Itawi said. 

Amira Itawi is the head of international projects at Lobortas Classic Jewlery House.
Amira Itawi is the head of international projects at Lobortas Classic Jewlery House. (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC)

In addition to the auction, Quiring held a drive that engaged the local community and nearby schools to collect supplies. In total, the drive received $800,000 worth of donations, such as sleeping bags, shoes, clothing and first aid kits. 

"Everybody just came together and they worked hard and it was a lot of fun ... it was unbelievable," she said. "We have an amazing community that will drop everything to help."

According to Quiring, people in Leamington, Kingsville and Wheatley, collected $800,000 in supplies to send to Ukraine. Supplies include sleeping bags, shoes, clothing and first aid kits.
According to Quiring, people in Leamington, Kingsville and Wheatley, collected $800,000 in supplies to send to Ukraine. Supplies include sleeping bags, shoes, clothing and first aid kits. (Submitted by Mandi Quiring)

Quiring said the supplies have already been shipped to Ukraine through a company that will distribute them to other charities that are on the ground. 

Quiring has another auction scheduled for later this summer, that she's holding in partnership with the charity Southwestern Ontario Gleaners. It will take place in Leamington on Aug. 27. 

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