KINGSVILLE — Laura Lucier, organizer of Tuesday’s Ukraine fundraiser, was hoping 300 people would attend the humanitarian aid event.
In the end, 650 showed up at the Grovedale Arts and Culture Centre to have a pasta dinner and make donations to help the war-torn country.
“The 300 meals that we prepared to serve were pretty much distributed in the first 45 minutes,” Lucier said.
Vernon’s Bar and Grill and the local Knights of Columbus were able to handle the extra demand and with the increase in the meals served came an increase in the amount raised. The event raised $25,600, but that number is expected to go higher.
“It continues to go up,” said Lucier. “People keep calling me and saying, you know, I found more money … one of my colleagues at (St. Clair College) today gave me $50 and said, ‘I heard you had a fundraiser.’”
The money will go into an account set up by the Town of Kingsville and forwarded to the Canadian Red Cross and its Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal.
The funds will be used for medical supplies, food, water, clothing, shelter, hygiene products, heating fuel and mental health support.
The total cost of holding the fundraiser was $500, which was donated by Causarano Fisheries. Money was raised from donations, door prize draws, support ribbons and bake sales and a silent auction for artwork donated by the Arts Society of Kingsville.
All the door prizes were donated by local businesses and individuals.
“I’m so incredibly overwhelmed by the turnout, by the generosity, by the involvement of so many people in so many ways to make this event happen and to make it a success,” Lucier said.
She estimated more than 50 volunteers helped with everything from preparing and serving meals and selling door prize tickets to directing traffic and cleaning tables.
Jennifer Forster was one of 650 people who attended the fundraiser.
“Laura and all the volunteers did a great job,” she said. “It was an impressive community event for such a worthy cause.”