On Saturday, St. George’s Ukrainian Church in Sarnia, a city in Ontario, Canada, held a pysanky and perogies event through which they raised $21,000 for Ukrainian refugees being welcomed to the area, according to The Observer. Coming together to support the cause, community members signed up for classes to learn pysanky (Ukrainian Easter egg decorating), bought perogies, and donated auction items for the local fundraiser. St. George’s Ukrainian Church is working with Beth Pentecostal to welcome Ukrainian refugees of which they are expecting more than twenty families to arrive.
Cassandra Taylor, an organizer of the pysanky and perogies event, shared that decorating the Easter eggs with the intricate patterns was something she remembered doing at the church when she was younger. Pysanky, a derivative of the word pysaty meaning “to write” in Ukrainian, is a method of egg decorating common in Eastern Europe that uses beeswax to cover pencil lines. Holding these classes for the community was a new venture for the church through which they hope to engage more younger members. Taylor shared that holding the pysanky classes may help the tradition return to the community. In the same event, 50 women helped make more than 250-dozen perogies which sold out in the morning, and they were taking orders for more.
The money raised through the event is going to help the Ukrainian families the community is expecting to receive. Taylor explained that they are hoping other churches in the area will help stock essentials at a central location to organize the assistance. Noting that they do not know what the Ukrainian families will have when they arrive, Taylor said that they are looking for donations including toiletries, housewares, gift cards for groceries, and more.
One month in the making, the pysanky and perogies fundraiser was a great success. Grateful for the support, many Ukrainian families who are members of the community have been praying for their loved ones in Ukraine. Some, like Taylor, have family members who have not yet been accounted for. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, communities have been coming together to provide aid and support which now has extended to welcoming refugee families. Fundraisers like these are essential in creating a successful and organized transition for Ukrainians to make as they enter a new period of their lives. Relieving some of the burden, churches like St. George’s Ukrainian Church are all working hard to plan for the arrival of the refugees, welcoming them not only with much needed supplies, but with warm and compassionate hearts.