Saturday, June 22, 2024

Ukrainian refugees on Vancouver Island need help as food costs continue to skyrocket (UPDATED)



Camosun’s Ukrainian dinner that was supposed to to take place on December 9th has been postponed to a date that is to be determined.

According to a Camosun representative, anyone who had purchased tickets to the charity dinner will be refunded in full.


Ukrainian refugees continue to flee their war-torn home and seek asylum on Vancouver Island.

Mostly women and children who have left their homes and some family members behind to fight in the war with Russia. They often arrive in Canada with nothing but the clothes on their back.

There are a couple ways that Greater Victorians and people who live on southern Vancouver Island can help these newcomers as the holidays approach and the season of giving is upon us. 

Help Ukraine Vancouver Island

On Vancouver Island, there are over 700 refugees who have newly arrived. With these numbers of people who have nothing, Help Ukraine Vancouver Island has an overwhelming number of mouths to feed.

The non-profit organization is putting out a call to action for donations and grocery store gift cards in order to make sure these newcomers to Vancouver Island have enough to eat.

“I did a bit of research, and with the rising cost of groceries, Statistics Canada estimates that a family of 4 needs to spend a minimum of $1,320 per month on groceries in Nanaimo to ensure a healthy, balanced diet,” said Karmen McNamara, General Manager for Help Ukraine Vancouver Island.  

“This number is slightly lower in Victoria and slightly higher in the Comox Valley.”

(Help Ukraine Vancouver Island)

In the past four weeks, Karmen and her team of good samaritans have distributed $6,500 in food cards throughout the island, 50 food hampers in Nanaimo, 20 food hampers in Parksville , bi-weekly groceries for the 25 residents of Kiwanis Village and bi-weekly groceries for 120 other residents in Victoria.

Donations can be made through their website.

Camosun College host Ukraine Food Aid Charity Banquet

Camosun students studying the culinary arts in the professional cook program are gearing up to show off their skills and raise money for World Central Kitchen in Ukraine early in December. 

“The banquet is a wonderful opportunity for professional cook students to learn more about traditional Ukrainian dishes, and also support the community,” says David Lang, Chair of Culinary Arts. “It’s going to be a fun and tasty evening for everyone.”

Victoria’s Ukrainian Cultural Centre and Camosun college are teaming up for this Ukraine Food Aid Banquet and they’re being supported by local chefs and restaurants around the city.

The banquet will feature a spread of traditional and contemporary Ukrainian cuisine as a four-course meal that will honour flavours from across Ukraine.

(Camosun College)

Christopher Koniczek, event coordinator and Camosun alumni said he was struck by the work being done in gathering food and water donations for the city of Lviv by the World Central Kitchen. He was inspired to help the cause after seeing this.

“Food has always been a central part of my identity. My Oma taught me to be kind, generous and set the table for those in need,” said Koniczek, who wants this event to bring together Camosun students, the local culinary community, food enthusiasts and the Ukraine community.

“We have quite the spread prepared, which we’ve created by working with local Ukrainian chefs and connections. As a foodie myself, I can’t express how excited I am to try it all,” Koniczek exclaimed.

The date of the dinner is to be determined.

Curtis Blandy

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