Greater New Orleans area businesses step up to raise money for Ukrainian refugees

Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 9:41 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 7, 2022 at 9:46 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Nearly 100-percent of Russian troops amassed around Ukraine are inside the country. This comes as over a million Ukrainians flee their country as U.S. Defense Officials say attacks on civilians are increasing.

Locally, many area businesses are getting to work to support the refugees.

“Actual invasion of another sovereign country is pretty drastic and just kind of shocking to this day and age and those people, imagine what we’re like in a hurricane and stuff, they’re being attacked and bombed,” John Caluda of Caluda’s King Cakes said.

As he churned out hundreds and hundreds of King Cakes during the pinnacle of the season, Caluda felt a call to mix in some new colors amid the sea of purple, green, and gold.

“I didn’t know how many people would buy blue and yellow King Cakes on Mardi Gras weekend, so we only made a rack of them and we donated 100-percent of those. We sold those out in like 10 minutes,” Caluda said.

Caluda cut the first check for $1,200 to go to World Central Kitchen and will continue to donate half of every cake to the aid group providing warm meals to the ordinary citizens fleeing their homes in Ukraine as long as he can keep the ovens going.

“Just trying to give comfort to the people that are suffering right now, you know? Just like we get when we have bad hurricanes,” Caluda said. “I’ve been in those lines too. It works both ways.”

As dozens of local businesses step up to the task, it’s clear, the empathy born from Louisiana’s experiences knows no borders.

“Seeing images of them, you know, taking up arms and they’re just regular citizens. It’s very, very powerful and moving stuff,” Joshua Key-MacGinnis with Urban South said. “It’s important to help it at all times as much as you can in the name of peace.”

Urban South, d.b.a, some musicians, and others are teaming up for a benefit show on the 15th.

All funds raised from the concert will go toward medical aid, resistance supplies, aid to refugees, the queer feminist community in Ukraine, and aid to BIPOC foreigners trying to flee Ukraine.

“The Eastern European Women’s Chorus will be doing a set of Ukrainian songs at the event, one of the drink specials will be chilled Polish vodka served with a pickle, the bar staff is going to be donating a portion of their tips, we’re not sure what percentage yet,” Key-MacGinnis listed off. “We’re going to do t-shirts, 100-percent of proceeds from merch is going to go to the cause as well.”

Urban South will be donating all of their beer proceeds too.

“That’s just part of being from New Orleans is just helping people, we try as much as we can,” Key-MacGinnis said.

The show at d.b.a. starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 15.

Caluda’s will have their special blue and gold king cakes available in the shop every day this week and you can also order on Wednesday to be shipped for delivery on Thursday.

After this week, they will be available every Wednesday and Thursday.

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