Live auction for Ukraine part of Little Current Canada Day celebrations

The Expositor’s Debbie Bailey and Rick McCutcheon show off this beautiful piece of faux stained glass donated to the auction for Ukraine.

TEHKUMMAH—As the ongoing tragedy that is the war in Ukraine first began to unfold last February, George Kopylov of Tehkummah found himself in a quandary. With plenty of friends and family on both sides of the divide the construction contractor struggled to find a way to make a difference.

“These two countries are very close,” he said of Russia and Ukraine, likening the grassroots interactions to those of the US and Canada. “I have a lot of friends there; I feel it is like a civil war. I asked myself ‘what can I do?’”

The challenge, Mr. Kopylov explained, is that he is very familiar with both countries. “There is a lot of corruption in both countries,” he said. “I didn’t trust that I could send help without it disappearing somewhere along the way and not reaching the people who need it. It would be stolen.”

Then it came to him.

“I am part of a world-wide meditation group (Ananda Marga Universal Relief Fund [AMURT]), kind of like yoga, with groups in countries all over the world,” he said. “There is a group in Ukraine.” Mr. Kopylov reached out and soon contacted members of the group in Ukraine. “This way I could work with people I trust.”

AMURT is a global spiritual and social service organization founded in India in 1955 by Shrii Shrii Anandamurti (Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar). Since then, the organization has spread to every corner of the Earth. The mission of Ananda Marga is self-realization (individual emancipation) and service to humanity (collective welfare): the fulfillment of the physical, mental and spiritual needs of all people. 

That ground-level contact soon proved fruitful. A group of volunteers was set up to seek out and assist those most in need of help and Mr. Kopylov began sending whatever funds he could to the group. In return, he received photos of some of the folks who are being assisted by the group.

“But the need was so great I knew my contributions were not going to be enough,” he said. Then the idea of holding a charity auction occurred to him. Mr. Kopylov and his employee Evan Roy got to work turning a bunch of wood odds and ends that were laying around into cedar planters.

“I reached out to (Expositor publisher) Alicia (McCutcheon), and she really got things rolling,” said Mr. Kopylov. “She contacted (Island auctioneer) Norm (Morrell) and made arrangements.” The Little Current Business Improvement Association Canada Day celebrations provided the perfect venue for the live auction and, with a few well-placed advertisements, donations for the auction soon came pouring in.

“Someone (Dr. Roy Jeffery) even donated a sailboat (the Turner vessel ‘Barney’),” said Mr. Kopylov. From oh-so-appropriate painted eggs to jewellery and a stained-glass window, there will be plenty to bid on when the hammer begins to fall, and every penny will go to provide non-violent support for the people on the ground in Ukraine who need it the most.

The auction will feature cedar furniture, works of art, solar panels, gift baskets, jewellery, antiques and a whole lot more. Those wishing to donate items to the cause can contact Debbie at services@manitoulin.com (705) 368-2744 or George at george@manitoulintimberframes.ca.

The live auction will take place on Friday, July 1 at 1 pm at Expositor Square in downtown Little Current. Norm Morrell of Norm Morrell Auctions will be officiating. All proceeds from the event will go to AMURT to provide on-the-ground social and psychological supports to the people of Ukraine.