In the face of the war currently ongoing in Ukraine, there have been a lot of varying opinions about who's in the right and so on.
Regardless of how you feel about the war, a lot of people here in the United States have felt somewhat helpless. How do you help someone on the other side of the world?
While I don't necessarily have the answer to that question other than donating to reputable organizations, I do want to take a moment to point out and commend local Michigan businesses that have been working hard to raise funds for Ukraine.
Now, a lot of these fundraisers may have come to an end but, if you see a business listed in your area perhaps consider stopping by, buying something their selling, and saying thank you if you feel so compelled.
1. The Cottage Bagel - Grand Rapids
The Cottage Bagel recently participated in Hamantashen for Ukraine, a fundraiser that invited bakeries from around the world to make Hamantashen to raise money for Polish Humanitarian Action. PHA then uses those donations to help assist Ukrainian refugees at the border. Other Michigan bakeries that participated in Hamantashen for Ukraine include Sister Pie in Detroit, the Tuscan Cafe in Northville, and The Good Cookie Sweet Shop also in Grand Rapids.
2. Le Bon Macaron - Ann Arbor/Grand Rapids
Le Bon Macaron has two locations: Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids. They made specialty macarons designed after the Ukrainian flag in the signature blue and yellow colors. They invited their customers to buy them and buy them they did. In total, Le Bon Macaron raised over $10,000.
3. Cherri's Chocol'art - Kalamazoo
Cherri's Chocol'art decided to design and hand paint a few specialty chocolates to benefit the World Central Kitchen, an organization on the front lines of humanitarian, climate, and community crises serving meals to those in need. In total, Cherri's Chocol'art raised over $1,000 (as of March 6th).
4. The Victorian Bakery - Kalamazoo
Also donating to the World Central Kitchen was The Victorian Bakery in Kalamazoo. They had a variety of cakes and goodies all decorated with yellow and blue. A local zero waste shop, Bee Joyful, also joined in. In total, they raised $8,000.
5. The Little Fleet - Traverse City
The Little Fleet in Traverse City recently participated in a fundraiser called Soup & Bread that benefitted multiple causes including Ukraine. In fact, multiple restaurants participated by giving away free soup in the hopes of raising donations. The Little Fleet isn't stopping there, though. They have a second fundraising event called Borscht & Bread 2 which will be a community fundraiser for the people of Ukraine. See more here.
6. Three Pines Studio - Cross Villiage
This one might be the most surprising simply because of how isolated they are. Cross Village has a population of fewer than 100 people. And yet, Three Pines Studio has managed to raise $10,000 by selling tea towels to people across the country. And, that's after only one week. They're also selling Peace for Ukraine Fairies. They're little dolls with hand-stitched sunflowers and wings. Sales will benefit the World Central Kitchen. See more here.
And those are just a few of, I'm sure, the many doing what they can to help people stuck in a horrifying situation on the other side of the world.
*EDIT* Sure enough, I was right! Thank you to Retroflection Vintage Shop in Portage for reaching out to let me know that they, too, are doing fundraising to help the people of Ukraine:
In their message to me, Retroflection Vintage Shop said, "Customers who come in to the shop and donate receive these cute little resin sunflowers, as that is the national flower of Ukraine." All proceeds go to the World Central Kitchen and they have a link where you can donate directly on their website.
Being a local business, especially now, is hard enough as it is. I applaud all the local businesses who sacrificed their time and even their profits for this cause.
Now, as stated above, a lot of these fundraisers may have already ended. If you missed out on participating, NPR has a list of ways that you can help right now. See more here.