Three Grade 2 students in Naksup have taken it upon themselves to raise money for the children of Kyiv, Ukraine.
Gabriella Cook (age 8), Sawyer Gascon (age 7) and Owen Howard (age 8) of Naksup hosted a bake sale at the Farmers’ Market on Saturday, April 9, where they sold cookies with all proceeds going to the Children’s Hospital in Ukraine. The trio has raised over $1,500, with more donations coming in every day.
In a phone interview with Black Press, the three kids said that they came up with the idea, wanting to help the people of Ukraine. Gabriella’s parents, Karlee and Brent Cook, lived in Kyiv teaching english 15 years ago.
“The people in Ukraine are suffering because of war, and Russia, one of the world’s biggest countries, is bombing Ukraine’s cities,” the kids said. “We want to donate money from the bake sale for hospital supplies and food. We have raised over $1,500 which is $35,000 in Ukraine [hryvnia].”
“My family lived in Ukraine and my ancestors lived there too,” said Gabriella.
Her mom says she is proud of the kids for taking the initiative and coming up with the bake sale idea.
“Brent and I lived in Kyiv, Ukraine for three years, on and off, teaching english. Our ancestry to this country, and the beautiful places and people we met there is why we have such a big heart for these people in Ukraine,” said Karlee. “Gabriella, Sawyer and Owen have obviously been affected by all of this too, as they came home one day and mentioned they wanted to do a fundraiser. They said they wanted to sell cookies and their old toys to raise money for the people of Ukraine.”
That’s when Karlee and her husband reached out to their former students, who now live in Vancouver, to ask how they can get the funds to Ukraine.
“Our former students have two Ukrainian restaurants in Vancouver. They have been taking donations and sending them abroad for the last month. It was their connection that allowed us to send the money the kids raised,” Karlee explained.
She adds that the funds are being sent to Ohmatdet – the Children’s Hospital in Kyiv. The money will go towards food and supplies, where needed.
She says that Nakusp and the surrounding communities have rallied for support of Ukraine, and that their church has been praying every Sunday for the people and leadership of Ukraine.
“The girls were listening and I believe they felt the urgency to help,” Karlee said. “It was so incredibly thoughtful of these kids.”
Gabriella, Owen and Sawyer all thanked their community for donating. They say they hope to host another fundraiser in the future, possibly having a toy drive and garage sale.
“A lot of people donated and even gave extra money,” said Gabriella. “We feel happy and good for helping and being able to help kids in Ukraine.”
“Thank you to everyone for giving money for the Children’s hospital,” the three said.
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