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Kalamazoo businesses support Ukraine by donating portion of proceeds from sales

Cherri's Chocol'art Supports Ukraine
Posted at 5:01 PM, Mar 02, 2022

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — All across the country, communities are finding ways to support Ukraine and Ukrainian people who had to flee their country.

In West Michigan, local businesses are some of those showing that support, selling products and donating the proceeds to organizations helping Ukrainians.

The Victorian Bakery in Kalamazoo has already raised over $1,000 to be donated to a nonprofit feeding Ukrainian businesses.

"I just thought we need to do something," said Maria Brennan, the co-owner of The Victorian Bakery.

Walking into The Victorian Bakery, the front counter is full of blue and yellow in support of Ukraine and its people.

"During the pandemic, I did some online classes with Dinara Kasko, who's a pastry chef out of Ukraine. She was posting, ‘Somebody help us.’ It was horrific. She was like, ‘Please post about Ukraine,’ and we started making her cakes and putting them out. All the pastry chefs all over the world that use her molds have been flooding Instagram," said Brennan.

Kasko's brand new bakery and studio was destroyed by Russian bombs.

The baking community decided to show their support, including The Victorian Bakery, using the molds she made and selling the pastries to donate proceeds to World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit feeding Ukrainian refugees.

"The top one is a heart-shaped mold, and we sprayed it the colors of the Ukrainian flag," said Brennan. "Then on the shelf below it, we have her spheres' mold here, and then her rose, so that's our Ukrainian rose mold. We want to represent her as much as we can during this time."

Cherri's Chocol'art on the Kalamazoo mall followed suit, making chocolates with the Ukrainian flag's colors.

"I think it is just super awesome. It is really heartfelt. It means Kalamazoo cares. I think everyone around the world is looking to help in some way. We are kind of limited on that, so this is one way we can help. I think it is pretty awesome," said Ashley Rafferty-Billman, Cherri's Chocol'art general manager and chocolatier.

Both stores said they've already seen an incredible amount of support and hope to see it continue so they can help as much as they can.

"This is the first time that I felt we had the opportunity to support them like Kalamazoo saved us during the pandemic, so now it's our turn to, you know, give back," said Brennan.

Both fundraisers are going until the end of the week. You can visit the individual stores to purchase the pastries and/or chocolates as well as to make a donation.

The Victorian Bakery is located at 512 North Park Street next to the Park Street Market in Kalamazoo.

Cherri's Chocol'art is located on the Kalamazoo mall at 101 South Kalamazoo Mall.

You can also click here to make a donation directly to World Central Kitchen.

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