Local Church Fundraiser To Support Ukrainian War Relief Efforts

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RUSSEL, Pa. (WNY News Now) – Members of a local church group are joining the effort to support Ukraine, after a generous anonymous donation. 

Jennifer Lundmark and John Mandeville of Wiltsie Community Church in Russel, Pa. say that the donation has spurred the group into action. 

“We had a member of the church I believe or maybe not even a member, donate anonymously to the church and they said, ‘hey, we would like this, our heart is for the Ukraine people, and we would like this to go to the Ukraine. We don’t really care how you guys use it.’ We want it to help the people, we want to use it as seed money to generate some more money to get people in the church involved,” says Mandeville.

The mission group then got into contact with members of the Save a Life Foundation that supports pregnant women in the Ukraine dealing with unexpected pregnancies by rape.

“There’s another thing happening where the refugees who are leaving the Ukraine are all women and children because the men have not been allowed to leave. And so now we have pregnant women who are all of a sudden left without their husbands and also they weren’t the ones who were the primary breadwinners for the family either,” explains Lundmark.

The money will be put towards “baby boxes” that contain supplies for the mother and newborn child.

The church is also working with a member of the Ukrainian Relief Initiative to fill the groups shelves with food, toiletries, medical supplies, and other necessities. 

Lastly, the church will support a couple that just built 100 homes in Ukraine for those who lost theirs in the war.

“They’re currently working on a mission to make candles that will provide warmth to the Ukrainian military. If you hadn’t heard, there’s almost no electricity now in Ukraine and almost no fuel,” says Lundmark. 

Lundmark explains that financial donations can go a longer way than sending supplies, since supplies can be purchased in Ukrainian border countries, eliminating shipping costs. This also decreases the risk of supplies becoming lost or damaged in transit. 

“For the first fundraiser that we came up with, December 3 from 4 to 7 pm at Wiltsie Community church we will be having a potato dinner. So for $5 a commission or anything that you’d like to donate, you will come and get a baked potato with many different toppings . We also are having some folks make borscht which is a Ukrainian red beet hot soup. And then we’ll have ice cream sundaes for dessert,” says Lundmark.

There will also be a basket raffle and silent auction at the fundraiser with prizes generously donated by the community.

“Once the ball started rolling it’s like the people started coming and people started volunteering to help with the dinner. Jen put the list together for our dinner and I don’t know, it seems like there were seventy people on it? Which seems like a ton but there’s so many things to bring together for this,” explains Mandeville.

Tickets for the dinner can be bought presale at the church or at the door. Those unable to attend can also connect with the church through its Facebook page.


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