March 28th, 2022Operation Cookies
MANY of us have watched in horror and disbelief as Russia has rolled over Ukraine, killing soldiers and civilians, and wondered what we can do to help.
Yuliya Wojcicki has the answer. Operation Cookies.
Yuliya and her Aussie husband Steven run Wojcicki Constructions, a custom-home building specialist company in Daylesford.
But Yuliya was born and raised in a small town in Ukraine an hour from Kyiv. Her family, including a sister now living in the UK, moved to Australia in 1997. They became Australian citizens but when Yuliya’s grandmother needed care, her parents moved back 12 years later.
Along with her parents, other relatives and former high school friends still live in the now war-ravaged country although have so far managed to stay safe or evacuate from towns being bombed.
When the war started on February 24, Yuliya knew she needed to do something to help and decided to raise an initial amount of $7000 to help with humanitarian aid for those in need.
She reached out to Caroline Goulding of Happynest Hampers in Campbells Creek who is now creating heart-shaped cookies in blue and yellow, the colours of the Ukrainian flag.
Wojcicki Constructions covers the cost of the cookies, buying them at cost price. They are then sold for $6 each or a box of 20 for $120, with every dollar raised going to Spirit of Victory, pictured, an aid organisation run by friends in Ukraine. The company is also covering all bank fees so that 100 per cent of the money raised goes to Ukraine and its people.
The money is then used to buy food and hygiene products which are distributed to those in need – many of them people who have been evacuated with their children to safer areas.
Yuliya said they had chosen Spirit of Victory because they knew them personally and knew the work they have been doing for many years. They also know none of the money raised will be spent on administration fees.
She said she had asked her parents to return to Australia in January, but they had refused.
“People find it hard to understand but they want to be there, they want to be useful. They are safe enough at this stage and while I would like them to be here or in the UK with my sister, when the war started they became even more adamant that Ukraine is their home and they will stay in their home. I just have to accept their decision and honestly, if I was still there, I would probably do the same thing.”
Yuliya said her parents, both 71, were helping the army as much as they could, with her mother making camouflage nets for trucks and tanks. “They will do whatever they can to assist their country.”
Yuliya said the local community had been amazing, both buying cookies and just donating money to help reach their fundraising goal.
“And Caroline from Happynest Hampers has been incredible. She jumped on board straight away, offered a very, very good price and has been pulling all-nighters to keep up with demand.”
To order cookies or donate, SMS Yuliya on 0425 708 292. She has asked people not to call as she is juggling work and Operation Cookies “and life”. Cookies can be picked up or delivered.
Links: Operation Cookies in on Instagram @cookies4ukraine
Spirit of Victory @spirit.of.victory.ua
Words: Donna Kelly