From left to right Greg and Kandus Thorp (ADRA), volunteer Jennifer Martison and Heritage Hills Homeowners Association president Doug Lychak at the Sunflower Festival fundraiser for Ukraine on May 1 at Heritage Hills in Okanagan Falls. (Submitted)

From left to right Greg and Kandus Thorp (ADRA), volunteer Jennifer Martison and Heritage Hills Homeowners Association president Doug Lychak at the Sunflower Festival fundraiser for Ukraine on May 1 at Heritage Hills in Okanagan Falls. (Submitted)

Okanagan Falls sunflower fundraiser brings in $20K for Ukraine humanitarian aid

The fundraiser was held on May 1 but people can still contribute

Over $20,000 will go to humanitarian aid in Ukraine thanks to the recent Sunflower Fundraiser held at Heritage Hills.

The May 1 fundraiser will be enough to fund five round trips by Adventist Development and Relief Agency Ukraine’s 1000 Rides Out humanitarian bus organization. These buses will take humanitarian aid into Ukraine and return with 150 displaced Ukrainians each trip.

Local retiree Jennifer Martison started organizing the fundraiser as a way to do something to help the people of Ukraine, and it grew quickly thanks to the support of the local community’s contributions of effort and donations.

“I couldn’t just sit back and watch this human tragedy unfold,” Martison had said ahead of the event. “I felt compelled to proactively do my part and help the people of Ukraine.”

The fundraiser had a goal of raising enough to bring 1,000 Ukrainian refugees out of war zones and with the $20,000 that was raised, 750 will be taken to safety. This is the second festival supporting 1000 Rides Out in the South Okanagan, following a similar fundraiser in Oliver that raised $27,000.

READ MORE: South Okanagan residents aiming to raise $27k for Ukraine at upcoming music festival

Local wineries and artists contributed cases and large format bottles of wine, as well as 15 art pieces to a silent auction and wine raffle. Two musicians, Will Schlackl (of Jack and Jill) and Joshua Smith provided entertainment for the afternoon and several food trucks and local vendors attended and generously donated a portion of their sales.

Several Ukrainian groups also attended, treating the crowd to delicious baked goods, and the Ukrainian Canadian Volunteers Association was on hand to collect contact information for those considering hosting people or volunteering in other capacities to help displaced Ukrainians arriving in British Columbia.

Even though the in-person fundraiser is finished, donations to the buses can still be made at adra.ca/1000ridesout.

Members of the Ukrainian Canadian Volunteer Association at the Sunflower Festival fundraiser for Ukraine on May 1 at Heritage Hills in Okanagan Falls. (Submitted)

Members of the Ukrainian Canadian Volunteer Association at the Sunflower Festival fundraiser for Ukraine on May 1 at Heritage Hills in Okanagan Falls. (Submitted)

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