Food is served at a perogy supper held at Surrey’s Ukrainian Cultural Centre in 2012. (File photo: Jacob Zinn)

‘Ukrainian soul food’ fundraiser returns to Surrey hall, with a twist

COVID-19 put a stop to church group’s monthly event, but it’s back on Sept. 25

Perogies, anyone?

The dine-in option is on the backburner for now, but planners of a monthly fundraiser at Surrey’s Ukrainian Cultural Centre have found a way to keep the event going in these pandemic times.

Both hot-to-go and freezer-ready takeout orders of Ukrainian “soul food” – perogies, cabbage rolls, garlic sausage, borsch and more – will be available again on Friday, Sept. 25, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the hall in Whalley (13512 108th Ave.).

The church group’s monthly “perogy supper” events are popular with Surrey-area people looking for homemade Ukrainian food.

“Our last perogy supper was in February, on the last Friday of the month, as always, and everything shut down in March” due to COVID-19, explained Lilia Johnson, an organizer of the event. “We’ve been under a lot of financial strain, dipping into funds. The bills kept coming, but there was no fundraising or income, no donations coming in because the church was closed. It’s been very hard.”

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St. Mary, built in the 1950s, has hosted the fundraiser since the mid-1990s.

For now, with COVID-19 protocols in place, the buffet-style supper has been shelved.

“The perogy suppers are social events, with families and different groups coming to celebrate a birthday, special events, but we can’t do that anymore, at least for now,” Johnson said. “So we’ve come up with a way to comply with all the COVID-19 rules. People can place an order, and it’s pre-packaged, with the perogies picked up at a different door. It’s one-way service and traffic flow, to keep everyone safe and also allow people to get their supply of Ukrainian soul food.”

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Johnson can’t pinpoint an exact amount of money raised by the monthly events, but says they’ve been “very important” to the church group for a number of years.

“And not only us,” she underlined, “because we’ve been able to make donations to other organizations as well, including the Christmas Bureau, the food bank, the hospital foundation, the firefighters assocation, so we do share the wealth. But when there’s no income coming in, there’s no wealth to share.”

Since March, the pandemic has also put a hold on hall rentals as a form of income.

“No weddings, catered dinners, meetings and other events like that,” Johnson said, “so hopefully we’ll be able to do those again soon.

“We’ve been getting phone calls all the time from people, wondering when it will happen again, when can they stock up, so we know people miss the event,” she added. “A lot of people want perogies and cabbage rolls for Thanksgiving, and that’s coming up soon.”

For prices and other details, call 604-581-0313 or visit facebook.com/UkrainianOrthodoxSurrey.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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