support Ukraine

How Canadian foodservice is stepping up to support Ukraine

Since the start of the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine sparked by Russia’s invasion of the country, there has been a cacophony of support from all corners of society around the world. The Canadian foodservice and hospitality industry is no different.

Restaurants and brands across the country have been doing what they can to drive support for the besieged nation.

Here are some examples of how Canadian restaurants have pitched in to support Ukraine, as shared by Restaurants Canada and Canadian media:

Raising donations

Southern Ontario’s Ukrainian restaurant Barrel House Korchma has a donation box set up at their restaurant supporting the Friends of Ukraine Defense Forces Fund, which provides humanitarian aid and assistance to Ukraine’s soldiers, volunteers, and their families. The restaurant is spreading info about resources, charities, donations and upcoming rallies through their social media and at their premises.

Meanwhile, PEI-based small business Leonhard’s Café raised $10,000 for the Canadian Red Cross with the support of their loyal customer base and employees. Vancouver’s Anh and Chi is donating proceeds from their Reservation-By-Donation program to UNHCR Canada to help displaced Ukrainians find shelter, food, and other necessities. Guests can choose to pay $10 per person to reserve a table, with all proceeds going to the charity, with all donations matched by the brother-sister ownership team.

“Our parents, Lý and Hoàng Nguyễn, arrived in Vancouver as Vietnamese refugees by boat in 1980, and what is happening in Ukraine reminds our family of that devastating time — the displacement of so many women, children and seniors,” Amelie said. “In honour of our Vietnamese heritage, and along with elders, brothers and sisters, we are getting creative once again. We are standing together with fellow BC Vietnamese Canadians to support the people of Ukraine.”

Ukrainian-made Ontario-sold vodka Zirkova is working to do its part to support, as the brand has undergone a business transformation as a result of its usual imports of the product from its Ukrainian distillery located a few hours south of Kyiv coming to a halt. Since then, the brand has committed to donating 100 per cent of its profits for the remaining 5,845 bottles of Zirkova Vodka in stock at Ontario’s LCBO to humanitarian aid in Ukraine.

In addition, foodservice equipment and supplies retailer, Russell Hendrix is donating five per cent of every online purchase from and to the Canadian Red Cross for the Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal.  They will be kicking off this campaign with a donation of $25,000 and are committed to making a minimum total contribution of $50,000.

Feature menu items

The bartending team at Vancouver’s Glowbal restaurant is inviting guests to join them this month to try their new feature cocktail called “Another Love” ($18), with 25 per cent of the sales from each drink being donated directly to the Canadian Red Cross to support the charitable organization’s ongoing efforts to provide assistance for Ukraine.

Simply Biscotti in Ottawa launched a We Stand with Ukraine fundraiser that sees proceeds from the sale of specially made cupcakes donated to the Canadian Red Cross in support of Ukraine. “I think we’ve sold a hundred in a matter of minutes; we have them in our display, and people are saying, ‘What a nice idea – give me 12, give me six,” owner Rosa Pino said.

Montreal’s Poincaré even put together an entire special charity menu this month which featured pierogies, kielbasa, borscht, cabbage rolls, pyrizhky (stuffed buns), lokshyna (Ukrainian noodles), and pampushky (doughnuts). The menu was an homage to Poincaré chef Jeremiah Bullied’s grandmother’s cooking and was inspired by Savella Stechishin’s 1979 cookbook Traditional Ukrainian Cookery. Proceeds were donated to the Canada-Ukraine Foundation and the Red Cross.

Refugee employment

A homegrown food company Baba Jenny’s Ukrainian Foods, based in central Alberta, will employ and support 15 Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian military invasion. Not only will the company employ these newcomers, but they will also house them and cover any rental costs for the first few years to help them settle in the community.

How can I provide support?

The CU Foundation, The Ukrainian World Congress, and Help Us Help are all partners of The Canadian-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce (CUCC) and are accepting monetary donations.

The CUCC is also working with chambers, associations, and businesses to provide assistance and aid for Ukrainian businesses operating during this time, in an effort to support Ukrainians and the Ukrainian Army.

Canadians wishing to make a humanitarian donation may do so through the Canadian Red Cross Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal.

The Government of Canada is also matching donations, up to $10 million, until March 18. Donation receipts are provided. Donations may additionally be made to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Ukraine Emergency. Donations are tax-deductible.

Refugee sponsorship

Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program allows Canadians to help resettle refugees as individuals or families that qualify under the refugee and humanitarian program. Those in Quebec may access the Program for Refugees Abroad. More information on becoming a private sponsor of a refugee is available through the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program.

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