Like many watching events unfold in Ukraine, Mallory Manchur and her husband felt a strong desire to help refugees arriving in Waterloo Region after fleeing the war in their homeland.
“My husband’s Ukrainian family immigrated here over 100 years ago, but we still primarily celebrate Ukrainian culture and traditions in our household. So we just wanted to find a way to help,” Manchur said.
That way presented itself after she spotted sunflower seeds in a stand while shopping.
“I bought a whole bunch of packages of seeds and envelopes and some labels and just quickly put together 50 packages of sunflower seeds,” she said.
The response has been overwhelmingly positive, Manchur said.
“I thought ‘well, it’d be great if I could sell these 50.’ And if not, then maybe I’ll also just give them away or donate them to a community garden or something like that. Within 15 hours I sold all 50,” she said.
While Manchur is selling the packets for $5 each, many people are donating more than that. By midweek, she’d raised more than $1,100.
“Some people have just sent me a donation and not even taken any sunflower seeds. Maybe they don’t have room on their property or whatever the reason. So there has been a very positive response all across Waterloo Region,” she said.
Manchur also received a donation of seeds from the Elmira Greenbox. For purchase Manchur can be reached at email@example.com.
The Woolwich Community Lions Club also sold pansies, including in yellow and blue, the Ukrainian national colours. The Lions International has asked clubs to raise money, with local member Val King noting the Woolwich club felt that selling the flowers would help them to raise more money.
“The orders are going very well. We’d set a goal for 200, but we’re probably closer to 300, if not more, at this point in time,” King said Monday.
“I think Ukraine is on everyone’s mind right now. And all you have to do is mention Ukraine, and people are on board,” added Jeanette Bomhof.
As of March 21 the Lions expected to raise nearly $2,000.
The flowers are being grown by Warren Greenhouses in Kitchener and will be delivered in April.
“We’re not salespeople but we’re hard workers. It’s always a risk when we take a project because we’re not sure what the outcome will be but this has been easy,” said King, who indicated this might become an annual fundraiser.
Although there are many different fundraisers for Ukraine, Woolwich residents are still looking for ways to give.
“I think judging by the response they’re selling themselves, people aren’t saturated yet, in terms of giving to Ukraine, I think it’s still very, much a thing that people want to do,” King said.
“It’s on every news channel every night but you keep tuning in, because you just need to hear what’s going on. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to take my own father out of the country or leave him behind,” she said.
Although the pansy fundraiser is over, donations for Ukraine are still being accepted online.
There are pickup locations in Waterloo (Embody Health Centre – 354 King St N #1c, Waterloo) and New Hamburg (Is This Chair Taken – 90 Peel St Unit B, New Hamburg).