Skip to content

New West church “overwhelmed, surprised, awestruck” by support for Ukraine

Perogies for Peace and Artists for Ukraine fundraisers taking place in New Westminster on March 26
Holy Eucharist1
Sister Angelica packed borscht during preparations for a recent perogy dinner at the Holy Eucharist Cathedral.

Holy Eucharist Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral has been overwhelmed by the support community members have been showing the church and local Ukrainian businesses.

In the days following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Holy Eucharist Cathedral launched a Help Us Help Ukraine fund.

Rev. Mykhailo Ozorovych said the fund has gathered more than $150,000 in donations, so far. He said $50,000 worth of medical supplies was sent to Ukraine two weeks ago.

“I am overwhelmed, surprised, awestruck. … I have been here five years. When I came to the parish, this sum of money was unheard of,” he said. “This has never crossed our bank account – ever. Period. That’s why I am overwhelmed.”

In addition to sending supplies, such as medical tourniquets, to the frontlines in Ukraine, money being raised by the congregation will support refuges who come to Canada. The church is working with the city and immigrant services organizations on plans to help those fleeing from the war and wanting to temporarily settle in B.C.

“New Westminster will be one of the hubs where a lot of work will be done, given the fact that Holy Eucharist Cathedral is here,” Ozorovych said.

According to Ozorovych, the church will help people with visa application forms, plane tickets and insurance, temporary (free) accommodation, paperwork after arrival, mental health issues, community settlement and job searches – all the things needed to simplify the process for Ukrainians fleeing the horrors of war.

A mid-March perogy dinner generated more money than any of Holy Eucharist’s previous perogy dinners.

“We raised $12,000 in one night, as opposed to our regular ones which are $2,500 or $3,000,” Ozorovych said. “We ran out of borscht in 20 minutes and we ran out of cabbage rolls in maybe 35 minutes, and we had maybe 100 people waiting outside. When I went outside I said, ‘We don’t have cabbage rolls or borscht, please forgive us.’ And not a single person turned around. They said, what else do you have?”

The congregation – supported by community members – prepared homemade perogies, cabbage rolls, borscht and sausage for a March 26 Perogies for Peach perogy dinner fundraiser.

“We were better prepared this time so we only sold out of borscht,” Ozorovych later told the Record. “We raised just over $10,000.”

Plans are also in the works for an Easter bake sale fundraiser on Saturday, April 9. Details about tupcoming perogy dinner fundraisers, can be found on the group’s Facebook page – Perogy Dinner (Take-out). 

Emotional roller coaster

The war hits close to home for members of the Holy Eucharist congregation, many who have family members in Ukraine.

“It’s an emotional roller coaster,” Ozorovych told the Record. “We have gone through fear, despair and anxiety, to super active volunteering, sacrifice, donating, accepting donations, sending stuff, shipping stuff.”

Ozorovych, who was born and raised in the Ukraine, moved to Canada 10 years ago and became pastor at the local church five years ago. His parents still live on the western side of Ukraine, far from the Russian border.

“They are doing well, as well as one could expect,” he said. “They are safe in their homes for now in western Ukraine.”

According to Ozorovych, the city is bombed once a week, with bombs at targeted locations such as the Ivano-Frankivsk Airport.

At Holy Eucharist Cathedral, there’s not a conversation these days that doesn’t start and end with war, Ozorovych said. He’s grateful for the support that the city and the community have shown the congregation and local businesses operated by Ukrainians.

“I just want to extend gratitude and thanks to the community of New Westminster,” he said. “It has been incredible support. … What we are able to achieve here at a local city level, everybody should be very proud of, and it’s a great model for other municipalities in British Columbia. We are very blessed.”

How to help:

Perogies for Peace, a perogy take-out dinner, is on Saturday, March 26 from 4 to 6 p.m. at 501 Fourth Ave.

An Artists for Ukraine fundraiser is on Saturday March 26, from 3 to 6 p.m. at Holy Eucharist Cathedral (the same day as the perogy dinner fundraiser). Lower Mainland artists will be selling artwork – including paintings, photography, quilting, textiles and more, with 100% of sales from art going to the church’s Help Us Help Ukraine fund. Details on the Artists for Ukraine Fundraiser page on Facebook.

The church is accepting donations for its Help Us Help Ukraine fund. You can send an e-transfer to; donate on the church’s website at; or mail a cheque payable to Holy Eucharist Cathedral to 408 Fifth St., New Westminster, B.C. V3L 2X6