The April 29 fundraising supper, a joint effort by Moose Jaw’s two Rotary Clubs held at the Church of Our Lady’s community hall in South Hill, was a big success before, during, and afterwards.
The two clubs are the Rotary Club of Moose Jaw and the Rotary Club of Moose Jaw Wakamow.
The clubs said in a joint release that they deeply appreciate the work and contributions of many volunteers, businesses, and organizations who joined the meal purchasers in caring about the well-being of Ukrainian refugees.
The fundraiser raised a total of $11,504.91 as of May 13.
“Every penny will go to Rotary Clubs in Poland to provide local humanitarian assistance needed by Ukrainian refugees,” said Glenn Hagel, a member of the Wakamow club. “The Ukrainian meal tickets sold out early. Corporate donations for our raffles and the raffle proceeds, along with corporate and personal financial donations, all exceeded our most optimistic expectations.”
Glen Blager, a member of the Moose Jaw club, reported during the April 29 supper that every ticket for both takeout and dine-in options had been sold.
“What can you say?” he smiled. “It’s good.”
The fundraising effort began with the idea to do a supper with Ukrainian food, and snowballed from there.
The preparation included a Wednesday, April 27 evening of perogie-making that brought the community together.
“We had lots of fun Wednesday night,” Blager said. “Forty or so of us were here making loaded perogies to serve (during the supper), with the two clubs and some volunteers. And it was just a hoot.”
A young Ukrainian couple recently arrived in Moose Jaw were among those volunteers. Hagel and Blager agreed that they were the fastest perogie-makers there. They were happy for the help and the reminder of how close Russia’s war really is.
The fundraiser also featured live and silent auctions. Prizes included an electric fireplace, a one-hour flight over Moose Jaw donated by the Flying Club, and a six-hour grill and smoke class for a group of four.
Donations from local businesses were significant, including a $2,500 contribution from Knight Ford Lincoln on May 11.
“We’re grateful to help in any way we can,” said Matt Ponto, general manager at Knight Ford Lincoln. Ponto added that Saskatchewan’s strong Ukrainian connections were felt by all Moose Jaw residents, including the staff at his dealership.
“Everyone’s got their ties, one way or another, so this was an easy decision for us, for sure,” he said.
Garth Palmer, a member of the Moose Jaw club and a former Moose Jaw Fire Department chief, represented his club at the Knight Ford Lincoln cheque presentation.
“This was something that was easy for our club to jump on with the other club and, you know, join forces,” Palmer said. “As a service club, we were looking for a project that was worthy … these Ukrainian refugees need some help.”
Palmer made Ukrainian potato pancakes most of the night on April 29 and described the experience as “terrific.”
“The way Moose Jaw people came together was simply amazing,” he said. “They opened their hearts to help Ukrainian refugees and made the evening so meaningful for everyone involved.”