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Charity dinner raising funds for Ukrainian refugees

Peter Shokeir | editor@fitzhugh.ca

The Rotary Club of Jasper is organizing a charity dinner with the goal of raising funds towards helping resettle Ukraine refugees escaping the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The dinner will be hosted at the Jasper Activity Centre on June 18 and is open for everyone to attend.

“Any money that we get from this particular dinner will go directly to new Ukrainian arrivals in Jasper and Valemount,” said Sue Cesco, co-president of the Rotary Club of Jasper.

“We think that there will be a really great response from our community wanting to come out and show their support for our new Ukrainian friends, so we decided to do two seatings.”

The two seatings will be from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Complimentary tickets will be offered to every new Ukrainian in Jasper.

Net proceeds will go to the Jasper Community Team Society, which is the point of contact for newcomers in Jasper, in order to help these refugees.

People can also donate directly rather than purchase a ticket to help refugees offset the costs of arriving in the community, such as for clothing and medical expenses.

“We heard from Nancy Addison (a resident who is helping refugees find work and housing) that some of the people who have arrived have basically left their homes carrying whatever they could carry, and that’s all they arrived with,” Cesco said.

“So, we thought what we do is, in addition to tickets, we could offer people the opportunity to donate something that would be of need.”

Cesco described the event as an authentic Ukrainian dinner with perogies, sausages, cabbage rolls and coleslaw, and there would be a brief welcome greeting on the stage.

“We’re pretty excited about that, because one of the new Ukrainians is a professional singer, and she has offered to sing a song for us,” she said.

Mayor Richard Ireland is expected to give a formal welcome, and the Rotary Club is working with the municipality towards getting a formal proclamation and a flag raising.

“So, we’re really trying to build it out much bigger than just the dinner, and we’re really trying to get that… mountain magic, just really trying to get that around everything involving all the Ukrainians who are coming here,” Cesco said.

The Rotary Club will be hosting two other fundraisers—a silent auction online, and perogies and sausages can be ordered from Prairie Gourmet Perogies.

The goal will be to raise $5,000 for the silent auction, but the Rotary Club is looking to raise as much as possible with its initiatives.

Cesco noted how many businesses offered items to be auctioned off, without being asked.

In addition, residents can post a message of encouragement on Facebook.

More information can be found at https://clubrunner.ca/jasper

Those wishing to volunteer can call/text Sue Cesco at 780-852-1380.

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