With a capacity dinner crowd of 250 at Peace Lutheran Church, and generous donations from even more supporters, the Brookings Rotary Club’s “Hope & Healing” fundraiser exceeded its goal by $10,000, raising a total of $50,000 for Ukrainian relief and medical supplies.
Seeded with a private gift of $10,000 from Rotarian supporter Keith Kerruish, of Isle of Man, and a $25,000 disaster grant from The Rotary Foundation, the local club raised another $15,000 from ticket sales, private and corporate donations, and a Dessert Silent Auction that alone raised more than $3,200.
Keynote speaker VJ Smith drew a standing ovation for his inspirational and personal comments supportive of the cause, and Ukrainian native Polina Helder, of Volga, spoke eloquently and passionately about her homeland’s history and current situation. Helder, who provided authentic Ukrainian recipes for preparation by Midwest Fresh Catering, noted her father is a retired general in the Ukrainian army, but has been recalled to active duty in his war-torn country.
More than 30 desserts were donated for the Silent Auction, several selling for hundreds of dollars each.
“We are overwhelmed by the support we received from our community for this fundraiser,” said Rotary Club President Erich Olson, who noted that the proceeds will be used to distribute needed medical supplies in Ukraine through the connection the local club has with a Rotary Club in Barlad, Romania. “Thank you to everyone who donated, attended, or otherwise supported this critically important effort.”