They say the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach – Nova Scotians are using food to raise money and show their support for the people of war-torn Ukraine.
The Hadhad family, well known for their business Peace By Chocolate are all too familiar with the effects of war. They fled their native country of Syria and come to Canada as refugees in 2016.
“When all of us saw what happened in Ukraine, we knew we wanted to help because it really resonated with the Hadhad family,” says Susan Morrison, operations manager at the chocolate shop.
The popular chocolatiers have created a milk chocolate bar with 100 per cent of proceeds going to the Canadian Red Cross for Ukraine.
The bar wrapper is blue and yellow – the colors of the Ukrainian flag – with the word for peace in Ukrainian written on it.
According to Morrison, the bar has been a huge success, being shipped across Canada, the United States and other parts of the world.
“Within a few days we sold out as soon as the bar was launched so we’ve done another run of 20,000 bars which again we’re getting to our limit so we will have to do another run,” says Morrison.
In addition to their chocolate bar sales, Peace By Chocolate has also set up a portal that is directly linked to The Canadian Red Cross. Those wishing to make a financial contribution are able to do so through the Peace By Chocolate website.
“People are happy to be able to have a vehicle to support the people in Ukraine. We have the most amazing customers, as of today we have raised over $30,000 just through that portal,” says Morrison.
Dr. Daniel Chorney, a Halifax-based psychologist with Ukrainian roots, wanted to help but wasn’t sure how.
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He came up with the idea of making and selling pierogies, after remembering times attending a Ukrainian church as a child. He says making and selling the popular Ukrainian dish is a common way to raise funds for a Ukrainian community.
“That’s why we’re seeing efforts like this pop up all over the country,” he says.
His maternal grandparents came to Canada after the Second World War, after surviving a war encampment. They arrived at Pier 21 and eventually made their way to Vancouver.
“I remember making pierogies with her when I was a child. Rolling and folding the dough,” he says of his grandmother.
Together with his wife and volunteers, he has made more than 900 perogies in their home kitchen, and have raised $4,000 between sales and donations.
He has his eyes on a bigger goal and is hoping to raise $10,000, which he will also donate to The Canadian Red Cross.
Chorney and his team of volunteers will have their hands full this weekend as they embark on assembling 2,100 more pierogies which will then be sold at Good Robot Brewery on Sunday from 12-2 p.m.
“(Good Robot is) donating their space and time and they have a promotion that if you donate $20 or more you get a $5 pint of beer, which is a nice little side gig,” he says.
Chorney is hopeful that a corporation will match the total amount he has raised in support of his efforts.
“The more people looking to donate to this cause, the better. I know other cities like Winnipeg have had a lot of amazing outpourings of support through local businesses. So we’re keeping our fingers crossed that someone will match our amount or at least make a substantial contribution.”
Chorney is also taking donations through a portal (Inspired by Peace By Chocolate) for The Canadian Red Cross through his Instagram page @pierogiesforpeace.
Cheese Curds Gourmet Burgers and Poutinerie are also taking $2 from every sale of their perogy poutine and will choose a charity to support at the end of the month once the donations are collected from each location.
“If everybody does something … it doesn’t matter what it is, whether it’s a bottle drive or something to make a donation for all those people that are struggling right now. We’re doing our part,” says Jim Pratt, founder of Cheese Curds.