‘Grannies’ fundraiser for the Ukraine raises over $1,000

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Ukrainian entertainment was also a part of the Ukraine fundraiser in the Gateway Mall on Saturday, June 18.

While the Downtown Street Fair took over Central Avenue on Saturday, June 18, there was still a lot going on inside at Gateway Mall.

One of those events was a Craft and Bake Sale fundraiser which included some Ukrainian entertainment during the afternoon. The event was spearheaded by Olga Karasiuk and Olga Dashchuk, and by the end of the day they had raised $1,688 for the cause.

“We are doing it for the Ukraine because my grandparents came from the Ukraine and my grandma and grandpa and my husband’s grandma and grandpa. They all come from the Ukraine,” Dashchuk said.

“Well a few of us grannies got together and of course we are Ukrainian and we thought, ‘why not?’ My dad was five-years-old when he came here from the Ukraine many years ago, so I’m Ukrainian over and over again,” Karasiuk added

The fundraiser took place in the Gateway Mall off Central Avenue East near the old Sears Store location, with all proceeds going to the Canadian Red Cross Ukrainian Appeal.

The ‘grannies’ had all worked together previously and were able to team up again for the fundraiser.
By the middle of the fundraiser, they were already seeing good crowds and plenty of support.

“It’s been very, very good,” Karasiuk said. “The baking has been going very well and we have a lot of crafts and Ukrainian things and that’s been doing quite well.”

With the Street Fair going on outside Karasiuk took matters into her own hands to draw a few extra supporters to their fundraiser.

“I was just out there and invited a few people to come down and they are coming shortly,” Karasiuk said.

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Olga Dashchuk talks with a customer during the Ukraine fundraiser in the Gateway Mall on Saturday, June 18.

Organizing the fundraiser was quite easy. All it took was a few phone calls.

“Grannies like to talk so that’s why it didn’t take us that long,” Karsiuk said.

The organizers and workers included Dashchuk, Karasiuk, Jolene Gustafson, Olga’s daughter Sally Dashchuk, and Mary Ward who came all the way from Saskatoon to help with the fundraiser.

Submitted Photo The group of ‘grannies’ who organized the Ukraine fundraiser in the Gateway Mall on Saturday, June 18.

“We have got good help,” Karasiuk said. “Jolene over here she has been a great person and she’s just a busy, busy bee.”

The donations could come in any form, according to Karasiuk.

“You can write a cheque or you can give us cash and you definitely will get a receipt eventually,” she explained. “(If it’s) $20 or more you do get a tax receipt, but we will take a dollar, two dollars whatever it doesn’t matter.”