By: Myroslava Stadnyk, Toronto
Osteria Dei Ganzi restaurant located in the heart of downtown Toronto was packed for the evening fundraiser on September 26, 2014. The event was organized to raise funds for medical treatment of the Ukrainian soldiers injured during the war in the Donbas.
Due to the pressing need to provide medical supplies and treatment for injured soldiers, the Ganzi venue brought together Toronto’s multicultural crowd passionate about the cause. Raising nearly $1,000, the event featured a musical performance by a Ukrainian-born singer-songwriter Yana Bilyk, followed by a silent auction of art and jewelry.
“I am heartbroken over the events taking place in Ukraine. Especially when I hear the stories about soldiers who were transferred to the Military Hospital in Kyiv” – said the organizer of the event, Dariya Zinchenko. “Many have died from the violence in Ukraine, and there are thousands more in need of surgery, medical supplies, blood transfusion and prostheses” – Zinchenko added.
To help raise money for the injured and the disabled, as the Ukrainian government’s funds are exhausted by the war, many local Toronto artists volunteered to take part in the fundraiser.
The lyrics of the songs played during the event highlighted the feeling of sorrow with regards to the situation in Ukraine. As well, there were several paintings presented for sale, reflecting the uncertain and difficult time the country is going through. Specifically, Ihor Polischuk’s artistic collection known as “Return Alive,” mirrored moments of hurt that the war has brought to many families. Among the participating artists, there was Galina Kokhan and Nataliya Laptyeva, who have offered their valuable art pieces for the creative silent auction. There was also a possibility of purchasing items such as wreaths, jewelry, and clothing pieces from local shop owners – Katkin; Dead Davidson Design; Anzie Jewelry – who are supportive of the cause.
“I’d like to see Toronto’s Ukrainian community, and beyond its reach, continue working together to provide as much support as possible – as many people require immediate aid in the aftermath and during the continuous conflict in the eastern part of Ukraine,” said Zinchenko. “Every bit counts. These donations will help buy expensive prostheses, and ultimately save lives.”
Earlier this year, as events erupted on the Maidan in Kyiv, Osteria Dei Ganzi (504 Jarvis St.) held its first fundraiser – collecting nearly $2,000 to support the injured. Zinchenko plans to host another creative fundraiser event during the Christmas period to assist Ukrainian people with regards to the humanitarian aid issue and to bring more like-minded people together. For more information and updates, follow Ganzi on Facebook.