Ukrainian bake sale back by popular demand
A bake sale for Ukraine started with one small idea. Shalika Khindurangala is from Ukraine, and she wanted to raise money to help the country as it fights Russia.
"It broke me when that happened," Khindurangala said of the war in Ukraine. "There's a genocide happening in the heart of Europe. And we are a strong, brave, undefeatable nation who is unbreakable, right? As a people. So I just wanted to know that I'm contributing to it."
So she and her mother started baking. They sold a few baked goods in Khindurangala's garage in Ames and ended up raising around $5,000.
Then, Khindurangala and her long-time friend Kayla Pippitt created the nonprofit Iowans for Ukrainians "just to legitimize things and help make sure that people could trust us a little bit more in terms of how we were managing the money that we were raising," Pippitt said.
They then hosted a bigger bake sale in Des Moines, and ended up raising $12,000. That was going to be the last.
But due to popular demand, Khindurangala and the nonprofit Iowans for Ukrainians will host one more in Des Moines: "Bake Sale 2.0."
“When we win, and I think we will, I want them, those people who bought like this one baked good, when they see on the news that we won, be like, I contributed to that," Khindurangala said.
The bake sale will be this Sunday at Easterseals Rec Center starting at 12 p.m. until everything sells out. The proceeds will go toward medical supplies and refugee services. Basically, Pippitt said, any small projects that are not able to apply for external grants. So far, the money from the first bake sale helped Ukrainian soldiers buy tourniquets, uniforms and a drone for a military unit.
“Both bake sales, we sold out so quickly. Some of the like, Ukrainian American folks were there for the second bake sale, and they saw how quickly they went. And they were like, we can make more next time. And all of us are kind of like, 'Is there going to be a next?' And now there is," Iowans for Ukrainians vice president Pippitt said with a laugh.
The coordinators of the bake sale said the crowd favorite is the popular Kyiv cake, which takes three days to make. The Ukrainian baked goods are always popular, they said, but there will be other options like sugar cookies and brownies.
"A lot of things came from this bake sale: money, to new connections, to friendships, to new foundations to small businesses," Khindurangala said.
She has tried her best to educate customers about her home country as much as possible. But, she admitted, she doesn't know the answers to all of the questions, especially those about Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions and the current status of women and children in the country (both popular questions).
"People ask. They're legitimately curious, and I believe that the solution to all our problems is actually being interested and willing to learn," Khindurangala said.