'Our hearts break': How a Brandon charity is helping to bring refugees to Manitoba

Multiple local organizations are joining forces to help bring more Ukrainian refugees to Manitoba and they’re doing it with the help of a few Ukrainian staples – perogies and cabbage rolls.

Members with Brandon Food Rescue were in Winnipeg Thursday securing large quantities of potatoes, cabbage and onions from Peak of the Market.

Ted Dzogan is the chair of the board for the John Howard Society of Brandon, which is the registered charity for Brandon Food Rescue. He said the Ukrainian-Canadian Association in Brandon reached out to him to see if they could get some food for a fundraiser.

He said they asked for as many potatoes, onions and cabbage as they could get.

“I said, ‘Okay, 2,000 pounds will be there tomorrow,’ and she said, ‘Oh no. That’s too much,’” Dzogan laughed.

He said they determined how much food they would need and went to Peak of the Market to pick everything up.

“The Ukrainian-Canadian Association will be turning this into cabbage rolls and perogies. They will be sold as a fundraiser. Those funds will help to bring more refugees into Canada.”

Pamela Kolochuk, the CEO of Peak of the Market, said their organization is all about helping people in need and helping Ukrainian refugees is right up their alley.

“We’ve done that with a lot of organizations within Winnipeg already that are making perogies in support of Ukraine and looking for a donation in some way. So we have been donating the potatoes to make the products. That’s an investment that would usually cost a lot of money, that they don’t have to make,” said Kolochuk.

For Dzogan, it’s important to be able to help out Ukrainian refugees, not only because they need it right now, but also because of his family roots.

“So 100 years ago last month my great-grandfather escaped another war and came from Ukraine and landed in Canada, and made my life possible,” said Dzogan. “We should always pay attention to helping those that we can. This is particularly personal for me and a lot of Manitobans as we can trace our roots from earlier immigration from Ukraine. We all watch on the news and we see what’s going on there and our hearts break.”

Kolochuk said if more help is needed in the future, Peak of the Market will gladly step up again to support those in need.

“We will continue to do it. We work with some of the immigration councils or organizations that are bringing newcomers in and we supply product to them in order to get it out to their families as well. This isn’t something we are going to stop. We are going to continue,” said Kolochuk.

More information about the perogies and cabbage roll fundraiser can be found online.