The Willoughby Ridge Bluegrass Band, led by bassist Melinda McGraw will be the evening entertainers for the Support Ukraine Fundraiser at White Rock Elks Club on May 28. Contributed photo

‘Support Ukraine’ event blends food, fashion and entertainment in White Rock

Day-long fundraiser hosted by White Rock Elks Club

The Support Ukraine Fundraiser – coming Saturday, May 28 to the White Rock Elks Club #431, (1469 George Street) – is more than simply a day-long food and entertainment event.

It will also be an opportunity for local residents to reaffirm the Semiahoo Peninsula community’s already robust support for the embattled nation of Ukraine.

That support has already found its way to Ukraine in the form of food and medical supplies, said Oleksandra Makogonska – who is one of the Ukrainian community volunteers helping organize and cook food for the Elks Club event. She is also co-owner (with her husband) of Moby Dick Restaurant, which has become a hub for relief efforts for the war-torn country.

Of some $33,000 raised at the April 2 White Rock Peace Walk for Ukraine on the waterfront, $15,000 raised by members of the Ukrainian community has already gone directly to an orphanage, a hospital and a charitable organization, the Association of Mothers of Ukraine, Makogonska said (other funds are being distributed to Ukrainian relief agencies by White Rock Rotary Club, who co-organized that event, through Rotary International).

READ ALSO: ‘Peace Walk for Ukraine’ draws hundreds in White Rock

Support Ukraine Fundraiser chair Don Alton said he and his committee are aiming at a goal of raising $10,000 for the Elks’ event – to be directly distributed through the Ukrainian community and their connections in the homeland.

“Oleksandra knows what they need – and who to get the money to,” Alton said.

For the past four weeks volunteers have been making and freezing perogies in the Elks Club’s kitchen, Makogonska said, in which project they have been helped by the eager co-operation of Elks’ treasurer Sherry Baker.

But an authentic Ukrainian dinner – featuring varuyky (perogies), kovbasa (sausage), borscht (soup) and holubtsi (cabbage) rolls is only one of the facets of the 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. event, Alton and co-organizer Cheryl Jorgensen said.

READ ALSO: Canada’s PM Trudeau makes surprise visit to Ukraine to meet President Zelenskyy

The event will begin with a pancake and sausage breakfast in the lower hall organized by Elks first vice president Al Burns, at which the White Rock Youth Ambassadors will be volunteer servers.

From 9 p.m. to the end of the event, a silent auction will be held in the back conference room, for which White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker has been gathering auction items.

At 12:30 p.m. the afternoon entertainment will begin in the upstairs lounge with the six-piece local band The Vagabonds, who will play a variety of music until 2:30 p.m.

From 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Dale Harding, owner and director of Peninsula-based modelling school Pizzazz International, will present a Ukrainian-themed fashion show.

“Dale is very much behind this event – she’s one of the people who came to our first meeting,” Jorgensen said.

Then from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m the theme will continue with uniquely Ukrainian entertainment lined up by the local ex-patriate community, including a professional singer, a children’s choir and a film showing the country in its peacetime glory.

“We’re also hoping that a Ukrainian dance club will be able to perform,” Jorgensen said.

After this entertainment, the focus will move downstairs for the traditional Ukrainian dinner at 5:30 p.m. followed at 7:30 p.m. by the popular Willoughby Ridge Bluegrass Band, led by stand-up bassist Melinda McGraw.

The dinner and post-dinner entertainment are ticketed at $75, Alton said.

“That seems to be perfectly acceptable for a fundraiser,” he added. “We’ve already had a couple of people who’ve said, ‘Unfortunately I can’t be there – but here’s your $75 anyway.”

Other volunteer contributions will also make significant contributions to the event, Alton and Jorgensen said.

The 907 Black Knight Air Cadet Squadron will be on hand to assist with security for the silent auction, while Elks member Lori Humphries has secured the help of Telus volunteers throughout the day – and other offers to help seem to be coming in daily.

The amount of co-operation from veryone concerned has “blown me away,” Alton said.

“I’m delighted – I think this is going to be the best thing the Elks have done in 20 years.”

“We’re going to try to keep this momentum going for other fundraising events for Ukraine,” Jorgensen said, adding there were so many suggestions that the event could probably have been scheduled as a two-day mini-festival.

“I’d had been watching the news about the Russian invasion and thinking there must be something we could do,” Alton added.

“So we talked to people at our regular Sunday afternoon jam – there’s usually around 40 people there between the audience and the performers – and we had all the volunteers we needed right away,” he added.

“So many people have been jumping in to help – which goes to prove what I believe, we’re civilized people in this community and we know when something going on out there is morally wrong.

“The response we’ve had almost brings me to tears.”

For tickets and more information on the Support Ukraine Fundraiser, call 604-538-2016 or visit

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