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Rotary Clubs of Moose Jaw excited as eight tonnes of food on way to Kyiv

The saga of the Rotary Clubs (RCs) of Moose Jaw sending aid to Ukraine looks set to conclude as the Polish club partnering on the project sends pictures of eight tonnes of food on its way to Kyiv for distribution.
Money raised by the Rotary Clubs of Moose Jaw bought two thirds of these pallets with cooperation from other Rotary clubs topping them off
Money raised by the Rotary Clubs of Moose Jaw bought most of 8 tonnes worth of pallets of canned foods, with contributions from other Rotary clubs topping them off

The saga of the Rotary Clubs (RCs) of Moose Jaw sending aid to Ukraine looks set to conclude as the Polish club partnering on the project sends pictures of eight tonnes of food on its way to Kyiv for distribution.

In April, the Rotary Club of Moose Jaw partnered with the Rotary Club of Moose Jaw Wakamow to host a fundraiser to aid Ukraine.

Organizers said that word around Moose Jaw was that people wanted a way to contribute, and they decided to provide that opportunity.

The dinner was held at the Church of Our Lady community hall in South Hill and raised $11,504.91.

Then, local crafting couple Len and Bernie Mintenko heard about the Rotary effort and decided to help. By selling sunflowers at the Wakamow Farmer’s Market alongside their custom wooden signs, they raised $1,035 to bring the total over $12,500.

Next, organizers Glenn Hagel and Glen Blager, representing RC Moose Jaw Wakamow and RC Moose Jaw respectively, found a club in Poland with whom they could partner — RC Zamość Ordynacki (RCZO), based out of the city of Zamość near the Ukrainian border.

RCZO president Włodzimierz Bentkowski communicated with MooseJawToday.com to describe what his club has accomplished — and how they have adapted — since Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Bentkowski could not say at that time specifically how the funds would be used.

The final results are now in. The $12,500 from the people of Moose Jaw bought about two-thirds of an eight-tonne truckload of canned goods headed for Kyiv and its surrounding area. The remaining amount was bought with contributions from other RCs in Alberta, France, and RCZO itself.

“It’s all going to go Ukrainian refugees, in Ukraine,” Hagel explained. “There is a distribution warehouse in Kyiv, and from there, through Rotary, the food will move to over 10 other cities, towns, villages.”

The population centres receiving the food were all either formerly occupied or are still occupied by invading Russian forces.

“The people who receive the food, many of them will be homeless,” Hagel continued. “(Bentkowski) said many will be disabled, and there will be lots and lots of children.”

Blager said that seeing the food go out was very special and wondered if more could be done.

“I don’t know what I’m saying there, or where we’re at for the future, but this thing in Ukraine is not finished,” he said. “They need more and more help all the time, I think we need to keep things open.”

“This report is important because what brought our (two Moose Jaw clubs) together was a sense that people wanted to do something, and it isn’t often that we’re able to really see the difference our donations make,” Hagel said. “We had to do things we’ve never done before, and now we find out in retrospect that we made a lot of good decisions that we weren’t so sure of when we made them.”

Blager and Hagel, on behalf of their clubs, again thanked the community of Moose Jaw for their generosity.

To learn more about Rotary and/or to sign up to be a Friend of Rotary and contribute to their efforts, contact Blager at 306-631-6002; for the Wakamow club, contact membership chair Sonja Susut at 306-693-0473.