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Arts, crafts, food sale to raise funds for Ukraine humanitarian aid

Flin Flon’s arts community is hoping to raise money for Ukrainian aid efforts with an upcoming event and sale.
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Flin Flon’s arts community is hoping to raise money for Ukrainian aid efforts with an upcoming event and sale.

Several community members, including arts and culture luminaries, will host a fundraiser to assist the Canadian Red Cross Ukrainian relief campaign. The sale will go from 1-4 p.m. at the Flin Flon Community Hall April 10.

The inspiration for helping out came soon after the Russian military invaded parts of Ukraine. The two countries have been locked in combat ever since, with shifting results and ever-increasing stakes and body counts.

Crystal Kolt’s family, like many in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Flin Flon, has Ukrainian roots - combining hers and others’ passion for local arts with a call to help the shared motherland of several community members fit perfectly.

“It came out instantaneously,” she said.

“I put a call out just because I wanted to do something to raise money and it just exploded - there’s so many people in our community who have Ukrainian heritage that want to be a part of it. There are businesses all around town that have contributed to it and people are sending payments already.”

The sale will include a raffle with several art pieces by local artisans - a painting by Monique Rainville, for instance, of the former St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church on Hiawatha Avenue, now the site of the Lord’s Bounty Food Bank, will be shown, as well as pieces from artists including Laura Bryant, Karen Clark and Lois Pedersen, a quilt made by Creighton resident Phyllis Kozak, sculpture from Elaine Angelski and others. Also included are several packages assembled with the help of local businesses eager to help out.

Some of the items planned to be for sale include traditional Ukrainian food and crafts.

“We’ve got people with cabbage rolls, perogies, paska, donations from all around the community,” said Kolt.

Funds raised through the event will be donated to the Canadian Red Cross Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal, through which the money will be sent directly to eastern Europe to provide aid for refugees and people fleeing Ukraine. Donations to the fund have been, in the past, eligible to be matched by the federal government dollar for dollar - though as of March 18, that will no longer happen. Canadians have already donated tens of millions of dollars to the campaign.

“We want to make as much money as we can and we’re going to be giving it to the Red Cross effort,” Kolt said.

While some sales and events take months to properly plan and coordinate, this one took only two weeks to set up. Kolt said she has been overwhelmed with the response from the community and people involved.

“We started this two weeks ago and it’s become an amazing thing. We want to raise as much money as we can - there’s virtually no administrative cost to this. All the money will be going to the humanitarian aid fund for Ukraine.”