Auction will support Ukrainian refugees


Tehkummah businessman reaches out for products and services for fundraiser auction

MANITOULIN—One Island business is hoping to make a difference in the lives of Ukrainians stricken by war, and he’s hoping more of the Manitoulin business community will step up to help in an Island-wide fundraising effort.

George Kopylov of Manitoulin Timber Frames approached The Expositor with the idea of helping him host an auction, the proceeds of which would go to the war-affected people of Ukraine, specifically through AMURT (Amanda Marga Universal Relief Fund), which sees 90 percent of its donations go directly to its service projects.

Mr. Kopylov spent time researching where his monies would best benefit the people of Ukraine and settled on AMURT. He’s actually been sending any money he can, on his own, to AMURT since the war began.

“My motivation is to help people who have lost everything because of the war,” he tells The Expositor. “Right now, they literally have lost everything and need the most basic things first: food, medicine, shelter. From where I am, the best thing I can do is send funds to people on the ground. I know people there who I trust to use the money to provide services and not charge an exorbitant administrative fee.”

AMURT is working with its chapters throughout Europe for the Ukrainian humanitarian response that offers basic necessities and psycho-social support to the neediest, the AMURT website states.

“AMURT US is working with AMURT UK in providing cash support for a network of people within Ukraine,” the website continues. “Funds are distributed through phone apps to community coordinators, who then provide whatever food and medicine are needed for others in their buildings or immediate neighbourhoods and centres for internally displaced people.”

In Romania, AMURTEL (the refugee mothers and babies-focussed arm of AMURT) is sharing its expertise in emergency psychology and coordination with the government and non-government organizations present at its Ukraine border point of Siret. “We train local Romanian first responders and volunteers in psychological first aid and self-care. AMURTEL supports civil initiatives at the Siret border point. AMURTEL also provides psychological first aid training online to our volunteers in Ukraine.”

In Moldavia, another small country that borders Ukraine, volunteers fed hundreds of refugees on its border through a consortium of organizations during the early surge of Ukrainian refugees and in Western Europe, AMURT is supporting Ukrainian refugees with accommodation in Poland, Italy and other countries of their choice.

Mr. Kopylov and fellow Manitoulin Timber Frames carpenter Evan Roy created six benches made from Manitoulin cedar (harvested near Spring Bay) to be sold at auction.

“We custom-milled the 4” slabs last year,” Mr. Kopylov explains. “We took care to keep the centre of the tree in the centre of the slab on both ends so that the bench is as dimensionally stable as possible. We draw-knifed the bark off by hand, then planed-smooth and sanded the wood.  The benches are finished with a natural oil used for traditional timber frames—solid outdoor seating that will last for decades.”

The Expositor is helping facilitate the auction in conjunction with Manitoulin Timber Frames.

“If there are any other businesses that would like to offer up goods or services to help with the fundraiser, we would be pleased to add them to the list of items,” says Alicia McCutcheon, publisher of The Manitoulin Expositor.

Mr. Kopylov says he hopes others will come forward with their offerings for this important cause.

Manitoulin Timber Frames and The Expositor are aiming to solicit enough goods to hold a live auction event in May.

“We know Manitoulin is a giving community and we’re hoping to see that generous nature shine through,” Mr. Kopylov adds.

To donate to the auction, or for more information, please email, or call The Expositor Office at 705-368-2744 and speak to Debbie Bailey.

Stay tuned for more details.