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Local women plan fundraiser for Ukrainian refugees | News, Sports, Jobs


News Photo by Darby Hinkley Pictured, L-R, Stefanie Huffaker of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ellen Eagan of Trinity Episcopal Church, Tammy Hermansen of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Deb McClure of Trinity Episcopal Church, Cindy DeRocher of Alpena Community College Women’s Athletics, and Gerry Cawthra of Trinity Episcopal Church. Eagan and McClure wear felt hearts in the colors of the Ukrainian flag, and McClure holds a blue and yellow rock painted by Pat Manning, one of the artists at the Thunder Bay Arts Gallery.


ALPENA — If you’re wondering how to help Ukrainians, a local women’s group has come up with some ideas.

A rummage sale, bake sale, silent art auction and bazaar will take place in the APlex Ballroom, 701 Woodward Ave.

Drop-off will be from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on April 20 and 21 and the sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday April 22 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday April 23.

This community fundraiser is organized by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Trinity Episcopal Church Women, and Alpena Community College Women’s Athletics.

“We are asking for donations of clean, lightly used work items,” said Tammy Hermansen of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Items may be dropped off prior to sale at Trinity Episcopal Church on Washington Avenue.

Stefanie Huffaker explained how this group of women came together to organize this event. She is also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“In our church, March is the annual anniversary of our women’s organization,” Huffaker said. “Our organization is called the Relief Society. Tammy is the president.

The church is located at 411 Long Rapids Plaza in Alpena.

Hermansen wanted to commemorate the 180th anniversary of the women’s organization by doing some sort of community service. After some reflection, they came to the conclusion that helping the women and children of Ukraine is vital at this time. So they reached out to other women’s groups, including the women of Trinity Episcopal Church and Alpena Community College athletic director Cindy DeRocher.

“Everyone we spoke to seemed to grow,” Huffaker said, adding that she’s not the only one feeling sick from what she sees on the evening news about Russia’s invasion of China. ‘Ukraine.

“It was a miracle that the lady from APlex gave us the ballroom,” Huffaker said of APlex’s Denise Donakowski. “So we keep talking about it, and I think that’s what made it grow.”

Huffaker said that as the group reflected and prayed about what needed to be done, they asked, “How can we reach out into the community, as women, and tap into that natural inclination of women to care? people?”

The group researched and carefully selected a reputable charity called Save The Children. For more information about Save The Children, click the donation link on the group’s Facebook page at Ukrainian Refugee Fundraiser-Alpena, or visit support.savethechildren.org.

“One of the things they say directly on their website, in terms of what they provide, other than food, water and psychological counseling, and cash assistance, is protection against this traffic and safe places,” Huffaker said.

“Not only do they benefit children, but they benefit families,” Hermansen added.

“Most of the refugees are women, children, grandmothers and grandfathers,” Huffaker said. “All the men are in Ukraine, still fighting.”

“I just think people are sick of winter, sick of COVID, sick of what they’re watching on the news, and just this feeling of unhappiness and sadness in the world, and they want to feel good and do good,” Huffaker said. .

“We live in a wonderful community,” added Hermansen. “People want to give. The people we’ve talked to about it… their hearts are just torn apart by the tragedies we see on the news. People want to help.

Their donation goal is $15,000, which they hope to exceed.

If you have any questions about the local event, call 989-217-6335. The Facebook page will give more details on which items can and cannot be accepted. Items that cannot be accepted include mattresses, pillows and upholstered furniture.

You can help support this cause in several ways:

¯ Donate clean, gently used items for sale.

¯ Buy items from the sale.

¯ Donate artwork at the silent auction.

¯ Take part in the silent auction.

¯ Sign up to volunteer at the event.

¯ Make an online donation by clicking on the donation link on the group’s Facebook page.

¯ Donate in person or by mailing a check to Trinity Episcopal Church, 124 E. Washington Ave., Alpena MI 49707. Note the fundraiser for Ukrainian-Alpena refugees in the memo line of the check.

The women hope to inspire others to continue fundraising to help Ukrainian refugees, especially women and children, many of whom are orphans. Many have been victims of sex trafficking and labor trafficking, and are exploited as they flee the country in an attempt to find refuge.

“It’s just literal chaos out there,” Huffaker said.

Huffaker wants to inspire the local community to continue helping those who need it most, at home and abroad.

“Our hope is that when they get there, and they see what’s happening, and they feel what’s happening, they’ll want to do more than they were ready to do,” Huffaker added.

“We often talk about doing things bigger than ourselves, bigger than our team,” ACC athletic director Cindy DeRocher said. “We ask students, not just athletes, but students in general, to do something that will make you feel good. It’s a perfect opportunity. It’s just a good project… The students care about it, and that’s how we get them more involved.

“I think we have some very generous people here, and some of us like a challenge,” said Ellen Eagan of Trinity Episcopal Church.

Deb McClure, also from Trinity, works part-time at the Thunder Bay Arts Council.

“I invited several of our artists to bring some bazaar-type items,” she said, such as the blue and yellow felt pins that McClure and Eagan wore, as well as rocks painted blue and yellow to represent the colors of the Ukrainian flag. . Local artist Pat Manning made these items, which will be on sale alongside other arts and crafts.

Gerry Cawthra, president of Trinity Episcopal Church Women, is also on the committee for this event.

“They’re always looking for outreach programs,” McClure said of the TEC women. “That’s what they’re talking about. She’s been wonderful at getting people to donate and sign up for reruns,” McClure said of Cawthra.

“I tried to spread the word about this sellout,” Cawthra said.

She is happy to be part of such an energetic, driven and active group of women, but they added that a number of men also worked behind the scenes to make this event happen. Any support is welcome.



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