For food writers Olia Hercules from Ukraine and Alissa Timoshkina, of both Russian and Ukrainian descent, Cook for Ukraine started just ‘as an idea between friends with a mutual love of food and a desire to help those in need’. Yet since its creation, the #CookForUkraine Just Giving page has raised nearly £120,850 for UNICEF UK’s Ukraine appeal.
Hoping to echo the momentum of the 2016 #CookForSyria, the campaign seeks to celebrate Ukrainian and Eastern European food, whilst spreading awareness of the conflict and raising funds to provide humanitarian aid.
Food is a universal language. As Timoshkina told ITV news ‘We really hope that by using food as our means of raising funds and raising awareness, we are giving people a chance to bring that conflict closer in a way that they can relate to, not just in an abstract, news headlines kind of way, but actually in a very tangible, very intimate way through food.’
Timohskina writes ‘Like millions of Russians, I too have Ukrainian roots, and grew up on a beautiful diet of Ukrainian and Russian dishes. These countries have shared a complex and rich history, and the culinary language reflects this relationship in the most powerful and relatable way.’
Restaurants and bars are encouraged to add a a voluntary £1, £2, or £5 donation to the bill throughout the month, while individuals are urged to host supper clubs and bake sales to raise donations. The @cookforukraine Instagram is providing plenty of inspiration for home cooks, sharing traditional Ukrainian recipes such as Borscht, Ukrainian Garlic Bread or Pampushky, and “Pelutska,” a cabbage ferment that resembles the rose petals it is named for.
Sugo Pasta Kitchen, with sites in Altrincham and Ancoats, have pledged to donate 50p from each pasta dish sold to the cause. The Spärrows, a continental pasta & spätzle restaurant in the Green Quarter will also be donating profits from sales of selected daily dishes. Closer to the University corridor, Milk and Honey Manchester have recently joined the initiative, adding a voluntary £1 to all food orders.
Tonight, Wednesday 9th March, Manchester street food location GRUB are holding a GRUB 4 Ukraine fundraiser, at the Red Bank Project, raising money for the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis appeal. Expect street food from Korean Grub Club, The Little Yeti, and DGHNT. Local breweries including Blackjack, Runaway and Manchester Union have pledged kegs, with 100% of profits from the sales of these beers going towards the cause.
Herbivorous sites in Withington and Hatch are receiving donations until Saturday 12th March, to then be driven to the Ukrainian/Polish border. Key items needed include sanitary products, nappies, baby foods, pain killers, children’s clothing, sleeping bags, thermal underwear, and high protein bars.
As of 8th March, the Ukrainian Cultural Centre Dnipro Manchester had posted that physical donations were at full capacity, but to keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates on when collections may resume. For monetary donations or for more information, see the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain Manchester.