$50 for a single cupcake? Yes, when it goes to a good causeMay 29, 2022 01:17PM ● By Mimi Darley Dutton
By Mimi Darley Dutton | [email protected]
Wendy Williams wanted to help the people of Ukraine, but she wasn’t sure how. And she knew she wasn’t alone in feeling that way.
“I could see that a lot of people really wanted to help. They just seemed at a loss on what to do, where to do it and how. People seemed to be a little frustrated. The majority of people are so kind and so sad over everything,” said Williams, a retiree who moved to Draper in recent years.
Inspired by her pastor, Nate Taylor of Corner Canyon Church, she came up with the idea of a church bake sale. “He makes you want to do things. He’s amazing and he’s so supportive of the needs of the people,” Williams said. She approached Taylor with her idea and he enthusiastically agreed.
Taylor said the people of Ukraine had been “on his prayer radar,” but he hadn’t planned a logistical way to help. “It’s really just such a sad situation,” he said of the war.
Williams set about enlisting other volunteers. They decided on a suggested donation bake sale with no set pricing, and they would welcome any donations, big or small. She worried that if no one came, they might feel the need to suggest $50 per cupcake in hopes of raising enough funds.
Williams personally baked 10 pumpkin pies, five cheesecakes and more than 400 cookies. All kinds of goodies rolled in from other church members and volunteers, including bread pudding made by the pastor’s mother-in-law who happened to be visiting from out of town.
The volunteers erected a big tent on the church grounds on 12883 S. 1300 East and decorated with blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag. Williams learned the blue represents the sky and the yellow represents wheat of which Ukraine is a big producer.
The day of the bake sale, April 23, brought wind, rain, snow and some sunshine. But inclement weather didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits because it was all for a good cause.
“Everybody there had a good time and it was important for people to be able to do this,” Williams said. “People were so generous, some of them did pay $50 for a cupcake!”
Mrs. Utah American, Amanda Brady of Herriman, attended and helped with the fundraiser by spreading the word on social media. “My platform for the pageant is ‘Be The Good.’ It’s about how people can show up in small and simple ways to help their community. When I heard about Wendy’s bake sale, I knew just by showing up, that would support her. That’s what we learn to do for one another is just show up. I wanted to make sure the message she was putting out there was shared,” Brady said.
In the process of putting on the event, Williams learned of a woman of Ukrainian descent who lives with her American husband in Utah. The couple attend both Corner Canyon Church and the Slavic Evangelical Baptist Church in Holladay. That was just the connection Williams needed to make sure the donations would go to help the refugees of Ukraine as she and everyone involved intended. “That was a godsend because we were concerned about where to take these people’s hard-earned money,” Williams said.
Less than three weeks after the fundraiser, Williams and Taylor drove to Holladay to deliver a check for $2,253.25 to Pastor Andrey Benkovskiy and his cousin, Deacon Alex Benkovskiy, at their church.
“We were really glad and thankful for everybody to remember what’s happened in Ukraine. Our reaction is ‘Wow, this is great!’ We will send the funds to Ukrainian people who need it. We usually work with pastors in Ukraine. We will send it to people we trust,” Andrey said.
The Benkovskiys said their church has been in Utah for 30 years, the last 17 in the Holladay building. Services are in Russian with translation into English offered by a church member. Andrey’s father is Ukrainian and his mother is Russian. “In our church, we help people from Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus. We pray for a stop to the war, we pray for peace,” he said. According to Andrey, the Holladay church is currently helping two young Ukrainian refugee families who’ve come to Salt Lake. Alex said their church has already sent donations to people in Ukraine a few times since the war began.
“I was so thankful it was a community effort with help from the Lord to bring this together…to help people who are hurting. It meant the world to me,” Taylor said.
Williams, who now flies both the Ukrainian flag and an American flag at her home, said she’d strongly consider doing a fundraiser again. “I’m up for anything, even joining with a much bigger crowd if I got a call from someone who wanted to do something even bigger. Most of the people that came to buy goodies and donate were saying they just didn’t know how to help and they thanked me for doing this. That was the answer for me. I wanted people to have a vessel to do this and I want to make it grow.”