LAVALLETTE — A sold-out crowd of over 250 attended the Our Shore for Ukraine fundraising dinner held at St. Pio’s Parish Hall on Saturday, April 23.
The event, which was put together in conjunction with St. Stephen Ukrainian Catholic Church in Toms River, raised over $40,000, according to event organizer Jack Sauer.
These donations will be consolidated by the United States Ukrainian Catholic Archdiocese in Philadelphia and sent directly to Ukraine and the neighboring countries to provide services to victims of the ongoing war.
Mayor Walter LaCicero, who was in attendance along with members of the borough council, told The Ocean Star that he was impressed by the crowd. “It’s all for a good cause and it turned out to be bigger than we expected.”
Food was catered by over 15 local businesses, and 50/50 raffle tickets were sold during the event for a chance to win a litany of prizes.
The Joyful Duo, a musical act made up of native Polish and Ukrainian musicians led those in attendance in a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and Father Polodymyr Popyk sang the Ukrainian national anthem.
“It’s overwhelming. We raised over $20,000 before we even opened up the doors,” said Councilwoman Anita Zalom. “It’s been amazing.”
Mr. Sauer said, “this is beyond my imagination, it feels like everybody has shown their support for this.”
The event was put together by Mr. Sauer and his wife April in an effort to give the community a safe and practical way to come together and show their support for war victims overseas.
“There was an outpouring of interest right from the beginning,” said Councilwoman Joanna Filippone at the event. “There’s a lot of emotion that goes behind this.”
In a speech during the event, Mr. Sauer said, “Imagine if you will have a war between a very large and a medium sized country.”
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