“We have to do something.”
When instructors and students of NBCC’s hospitality programs in Moncton and St. Andrews learned of the tremendous humanitarian need resulting from the conflict in Ukraine, they knew they needed to find a way to help. With the full support of the College community behind them, staff, students, and alumni rolled up their sleeves to produce thousands of pierogies and subsequently raise thousands of dollars.
In St. Andrews, long-time NBCC instructors Kim Garron and Chef Dave Irvin led the charge. Chef Dave quickly recruited more than 26 volunteers for day one of pierogi production, while Kim managed promotions and pre-orders for the initiative they called Pierogies for Peace.
“There’s very little that we can do living this far away, but at least we can raise some money for humanitarian aid to try to make sure people have food and water,” said Chef Dave. “We have to do something and we have the ability to do so. We have a big kitchen, lots of volunteers, and students that are keen and ready to go.”
The response was overwhelming, which Kim says is not surprising given the close-knit nature of the campus and its strong community ties.
“We have a pretty strong following even though we’re a small community here in St. Andrews. I have an email newsletter list that I use to let staff and the public know what’s happening at the campus with our restaurant and culinary programs,” she said. “Within minutes of sending the email, I received more than 40 responses.”
More than 250 kilometres away in Moncton, instructors from the Hotel and Restaurant Management and Culinary Arts Management programs were working on their own project. After hearing that the Ukrainian Club of Moncton required manpower and resources to meet the demands for its pierogi fundraiser, Restaurant Management Instructor Jason Blonde and his colleagues reached out to offer their support.
“When you see what’s happening in the Ukraine, it’s out of your control and you can’t do anything, so you need to find ways within your control to make a difference,” said Jason.
Within a matter of days, the College approved the use of its kitchen facilities, volunteers mobilized, and staff worked with vendors and NBCC’s Robertson Institute for Community Leadership to secure food donations and cover any remaining costs.
NBCC alumna and Ukrainian Club of Moncton member Natasha Kheroim says this level of support from her alma mater has been meaningful.
“I cannot thank NBCC and its staff enough for helping us with this project,” she said. “I truly cannot thank them enough for everything they’ve done to support us.”
This partnership with the Ukrainian Club of Moncton was a unique opportunity for the College to support Ukrainians living here at home and abroad.
Staff and students on the Moncton Campus helped the Ukrainian Club of Moncton raise nearly $5,000 through pierogi sales. In St. Andrews, the Perogies for Peace brought in more than $4,000 in support of the Canadian Red Cross.