Volunteers gathered at a Calgary church on Saturday to raise money for relief efforts in Ukraine by making perogies.
Around 30 people gathered at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church assembling thousands of the filled dumplings to raise money for relief efforts.
In the basement kitchen they sang a traditional Ukrainian song of resistance while they prepared a food that has nourished many generations.
“My favourite are the ones with sauerkraut but we make them usually for Christmas time,” said volunteer Oksana Dawid, who moved to Canada from Ukraine in 1992.
For some, it was their first time getting together as a group since the pandemic started.
“Making the perogy is very soothing. There’s something soothing about having the dough in your hands and making it, and when it’s for a purpose such as helping others and giving humanitarian aid, it’s more special,” said Christine Moussienko.
She is the daughter of Ukrainian immigrants and the church’s council president.
Every day Moussienko talks to relatives who are now in bomb shelters.
“It’s my last phone call when I go to sleep and it’s my first phone call when I wake up,” said Moussienko through tears.
There is a long tradition of Ukrainian Canadians making perogies to raise money. Moussienko said last year, the church had a fundraiser where they made over $60,000 selling perogies.
“This church was built from women making perogies. We used to make them every Sunday. When I was growing up every Sunday we had perogies and that’s what paid for so much in the building of this church,” Moussienko said.
Oksana Dawid said she thinks about not only her relatives who are living through this war, but also those who lived through the horrors of the 1930s in her homeland, known as the Holodomor famine. She worries about possible food shortages now in the Breadbasket of Europe and how quickly a situation of food abundance can change anywhere.
“I can’t believe that people in Ukraine in a land that’s so rich and can feed all of Europe, people could be starving like they were starving 90 years ago when Stalin was trying to basically extinguish Ukrainian people,” Dawid said.
For more information on how to buy perogies from the church visit the church website.
Calgarians continued to protest the war in Ukraine Saturday.
About 300 people turned up at Olympic Plaza to condemn Russia’s attacks and fundraise for relief efforts.
Another rally is planned for Sunday at 4 p.m. at city hall.