Over $35,000 raised at Ukraine Night in Picton

Ukrainian flags being sold at the Rotary Club of Picton's Ukrainian evening on November 8 in Rotary Hall at the Picton arena. Over $35,000 was raised. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette staff)




The Rotary Club of Picton hosted a Ukrainian evening in Rotary Hall at Picton Arena on Nov. 8 raising over $35,000, which is going to Ukraine for medical supplies and children relief programs.

The evening welcomed 178 guests to dine on a Ukrainian themed dinner which was prepared by Kelly Bannister Catering. The menu included a delicious dinner of roast pork, mash potatoes, a cabbage roll and roasted carrots with the pork being provided by Picton Foodland. Dessert was homemade from the Ukrainian families that were guests of the Rotary Club of Picton for the evening.

Ukrainian Ambassador to Canada, Yulia Kovaliv via Zoom. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette staff)

The night opened with addresses by Club President Barb Proctor, and via Zoom, the Ukrainian Ambassador of Canada Yulia Kovaliv. These were followed by the singing of the Ukrainian and Canadian national anthems.

“We are deeply committed as a club to the humanitarian support of the people of Ukraine,” Proctor expressed. “Tonight’s fundraiser focusses on the needs of the children of Ukraine. They are innocent victims, needlessly traumatized as a result of this unprovoked invasion. Funds raised tonight will be used for medical and school supplies for the needs of these children.”

“No matter how big you are or how small you are, you can do the things that matter,” said Kovaliv. “I would like to thank all of the community members who already helped Ukraine. Especially because now, the Ukrainian kids don’t have many schools to go to. Over 240 educational facilities have been damaged in Ukraine, and 333 schools just totally destroyed, and with your initiative to support the rebuilding schools, it’s so important because you give a chance to Ukrainian children to have a normal life. Thank you to all the community for their open heart and for helping us.”

Patrons were treated to live Ukrainian music by Inna Leshchuk, a recent refugee arrival to Canada, and her daughter Angelina. Inna is a Senior Voice Teacher and Vocal Coach, Faculty of Musical Arts at the Kyiv Municipal Academy of Variety and Circus Arts, Ukraine and a soloist with the Orchestra of the Ukraine Armed Forces vocal coach and vocalist with the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Silent auction items lined the side walls which raised over $8,000. Thanks to the sponsors items donated included a snowblower and cooler set from Picton Home Hardware, a high end road bike from Doug’s Bicycles, 20 assorted wine baskets for the All Canadian Wine Championships, paintings from Sue Chambers, a night’s stay and breakfast from the Royal Hotel and a Perfectly Preserved gift basket.

Some of the items that were up for silent auction for the evening. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette staff)

Raffle tickets were also being sold for an assortment of Stillus liquors and a crystal decanter which raised $860.

“With the money we raised in the spring, we split those funds between two organizations, one was Shelter Box Canada and the other was Health Partners International Canada (HPIC),” Don Leslie, President Elect of Picton Rotary stated. “We are joined here tonight by Lois Brown, President of HPIC. With Health Partners the money we donate, because of the contributions of the pharmaceutical industry who basically provide medicines at little or no cost, goes towards the transportation, so what we see is about a 6-10 fold increase, if we donate $100,000, that turns into $600,000 in medical supplies that are being sent to places in Ukraine.”

The Rotary Club of Picton was humbled by the generosity of the community and enthusiasm brought to the event. Coupled with Rotary’s fundraising activities earlier this year, their goal of $100,000 has been exceeded.

They could not have done this without the community.

“Delighted to be here in Picton tonight, this is absolutely wonderful what Picton Rotary is doing to help support the people of Ukraine,” said HPIC President Brown to The Gazette. “Health Partners works with the pharmaceutical industry in Canada to get essential medicines into developing countries. We also respond to crisis and emergency situations and since the invasion of Ukraine in February, we have shipped over $4 million worth of medicines to Ukraine to be used by local doctors and clinics and hospitals.”

For more information on the Rotary Club of Picton please visit https://pictonrotary.ca/