St. Croix Chocolate Company learned about Alight’s work with Ukrainian refugees when they found themselves horrified and frustrated by the war. They wanted to do something to help displaced Ukrainian refugees, but weren’t sure what that help could look like.
Then the chocolatiers had an idea: Their facility in Marine on St. Croix used to have classes in their production area, something stymied early on in the pandemic. But maybe they could invite some refugee families with children who have been through much more than any child should have to go through come and do something that should be basic for kids: Have fun and eat candy.
It might seem like a small event to try and offset the enormous scale of what these families are going through. But Alight’s director of annual fund Chris Kindler says: “Honestly, events like this do two big things. They help Ukrainian families build community amongst them, and those social bonds can be so important as people begin building a life in a new place. Having a little bit of home, a little of the familiar, hearing and speaking a first language in an otherwise entirely new place is a big deal. Events like these are also an incredible opportunity for families to connect to the broader community, get to know their surroundings, build connections and social capital with Minnesota neighbors.”
Besides, it’s just plain fun. “Food brings us all together,” Kindler says. “And opportunities like this to experience something new and share our own traditions and celebrations with others are cherished by everyone. Huge, huge thanks to St. Croix Chocolates for stepping up and doing this.“
Photos by Amy Rae, featured on The Heavy Table. Read more at https://heavytable.com/st-croix-chocolates-ukrainian-refugees-and-a-small-good-thing/.
Support Alight at https://wearealight.org/our-work/ukraine/