Food truck fundraiser feeds Calgarians, raises money for Ukraine

Canadian government matching donations to Canada Red Cross for Ukraine, up to $10 million

YYCFoodTrucks held a drive-thru fundraiser for the Red Cross in support of Ukraine at the Grey Eagle Casino in Tsuut'ina on Sunday, March 6, 2022. Money raised from feeding hungry Calgarians was donated to the Canadian Red Cross for humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Calgarians looking to get their fix of pierogies, kubasa, cabbage rolls—and even churros—got to eat up for a good cause on Sunday.

And Calgarians did by the hundreds, lining all the way up to Grey Eagle Drive.

YYCFoodTrucks, along with seven food truck vendors, were at the Grey Eagle Casino to raise money for the Canadian Red Cross’ funding for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. A portion of the sales from each of the food trucks during the drive-thru event were donated to the Red Cross.

“We often try to raise funds for different groups, whether they’re local or national, and just try to do some good in our neighbourhood,” said Jennifer Andrews, co-owner of YYCFoodTrucks.

The Canadian Government’s offer to match donations for Ukraine was one of the reasons that YYCFoodTrucks chose to support the Red Cross. The federal government announced on Feb. 25, that they would be matching up to $10 million in donations.

“The humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ukraine requires all of us to come together,” said Minister of International Development Harjit Sajjan.

“That is why we are supporting Canadians who are already showing their support for Ukraine by donating to the Canadian Red Cross by matching their donations, dollar for dollar.”

Canada was the fourth largest donor of humanitarian funds to that nation in 2021.

Andrews, who also owns the Canadian Bear Balls with her husband Jeremy, said that she was personally excited to be involved in supporting Ukraine.

“I grew up in a very heavy Ukrainian community in Saskatchewan—I grew up loving those people,” she said.

“I did Ukrainian dance for many, many years. I ate the food, I learned how to cook the food, and so I was really excited to be able to do a lot of the different dishes for today too.”

Donations to help provide humanitarian supplies

YYCFoodTrucks is also working to help raise $5,000 for the Ukrainian Catholic Church to send supplies to Ukraine.

“Food always unites people, and one of the things that we do is celebrate culture through eating, so it felt like the natural thing to do,” said Andrews.

Calgary Churros and Treats owner Wayne Arsenault said that he was very happy to be a part of the fundraiser.

“Anything that we could do to help, you know, what’s going on out there,” he said.

“Hopefully it gets settled soon and they get what they need to survive.”

Andrews said that YYCFoodTrucks has a great relationship with the Grey Eagle Casino and the Tsuut’ina Nation. When she asked if the food trucks could return to the casino parking lot, the Grey Eagle agreed immediately. It also decided to make a monetary donation to the Canadian Red Cross as well as part of the event.

“I just love that all of our different groups can come together in united friendship and love with our brothers and sisters in Ukraine,” she said.

Ukrainian food available from food trucks

A number of the food trucks included Ukrainian inspired dishes.

Canadian Bear Balls poutine had a Ukrainian poutine with pierogies, sausage and sour cream. Family Cheesed, which does grilled cheese, served up pierogies with sausage and onions. And Ukrainian Fine foods was also on hand to dish out pierogies. Along with kubasa, cabbage rolls, and kubasa sausage hot-dogs.

Andrews said that not every vendor was able to come up with a special menu in time for Sunday’s event. Though many tried.

“Everybody was excited to do that, and while it might not be some people’s specialty, we are all cooks,” she said.

“We definitely understand how to cook with different cultural preferences … sometimes we’ll do a fusion, which I think is kind of fun about Canada.”

More information on future fundraising drive-thru food truck events is available on the YYCFoodTrucks website at yycfoodtrucks.com, and on their social media.

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