A fundraising initiative, which was started last month by the Merrickville-Wolford Chamber of Commerce to aid Ukraine in the wake of the invasion by Russia, has far surpassed its initial goal. The fundraiser began with a modest goal of raising $15,000, but, as of the time of writing, nearly $48,000 had been raised by local businesses in support of the war-stricken country.
The fundraising initiative had support from a large number of stores and restaurants in the Merrickville area. Merrickville-Wolford Chamber of Commerce Director, Yves Grandmaitre, gave credit to many businesses and individuals who went above and beyond with the fundraiser, including a gift basket draw from local gift shop Pickle & Myrrh, perogies being sold at local coffee shop Village Bean, and a Ukraine egg painting workshop offered by local artist Irene Chahley. Yves also noted that many stores donated part of their sales as part of the fundraiser, and Mainstreet Restaurant single-handedly raised over $10,000 of the total amount raised.
Given that many different charitable organizations are collecting and distributing money earmarked for Ukraine, the Times asked Yves what the money raised by the Chamber’s initiative will be used for. “Fundraisers had the option of donating where they wished,” Yves said. “Examples include the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, or Veterinarians Without Borders. Funds provided to the Chamber, including almost $2,000 raised through coin collectors spread across the Village, will be donated to the ‘#United with Ukraine’ initiative, organized by the Ukrainian World Congress.”
Though the initiative has already seen such success, the fundraising is not yet over. Some stores and restaurants in the Merrickville area have decided to continue fundraising, as charities supporting Ukraine (and other relief efforts globally) continue to have a need for funds. Additionally, the local initiative may help to inspire similar fundraising in other localities.
“Our Chamber also reached out to other Ontario Chambers through the Ontario Chamber of Commerce weekly town hall and challenged them to mount a similar initiative,” Yves said. “We heard back from several Chambers asking for more information.”
Many locals in Merrickville-Wolford and surrounding municipalities have proudly shown their support for Ukraine by displaying Ukrainian flags outside their homes. The war between Ukraine and Russia began with the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Overwhelming evidence, including countless videos and photographs, have pointed to a full-scale attack on Ukraine at the hands of Russia, including vicious bombings and fatal attacks on civilians, including children. Peace talks between Ukraine and Russia have been attempted in the past month, but Russian President Vladimir Putin is now claiming that these talks have reached a dead end.
More about the Merrickville-Wolford Chamber’s initiative can be found on a dedicated Facebook page at www.facebook.com/merrickvillewolfordstandswithukraine, or on the Chamber’s website at merrickvillechamber.ca.