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A Ukraine-themed bowling display at New Hamburg Lanes. (Photo contributed)
Article by Nigel Gordijk of the Wilmont-Tavistock Gazette

Bowl For Ukraine On April 1 Will Support Local Wartime Refugees

A fundraiser to support incoming refugees from the war in Ukraine will take place at New Hamburg Lanes on Saturday, April 1.

Bowl For Ukraine costs $20 per person for two games, with three sessions at 5:30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. New Hamburg Lanes will be donating the profits from the event, and organizer Angie Hallman is hoping it will raise as much as $1,500.

She said that those funds will support Ukrainian refugees who are expected to arrive in the Waterloo region – including Wilmot – within a week.

“I’ve been connecting with local Ukrainian associations and community members, with a Ukrainian church in Waterloo, and with Immigration Waterloo Region (IWR), to get an idea of where it would be best used.”

She said it became clear during a community meeting at the Wilmot Recreation Complex on March 11, which was organized by local resident Stephanie Goertz, that IWR is “looking for people to take refugees into their homes in Wilmot township.”

“The plan is to keep the fund as local as possible to support Ukraine refugees coming to our community, and then filter through a credible organization like Immigration Waterloo Region.”

Sam Hiemstra has been an employee at New Hamburg Lanes for several years, and he offered to donate his time and services for the fundraiser.

He said, “It means everything to me that I’m able to lend my work for such a great cause. I’m proud that New Hamburg Lanes is such an active part of it.”

“While I hope this event does bring joy, I hope it also acts as a reminder of the privilege we’re allowed here in Canada, and we remain grateful for these moments of peaceful connection and play.”

The past two years of provincial lockdowns have been challenging for James Aoki, owner of the six-lane, five-pin bowling alley, but he still jumped at the chance to help out when Hallman approached him with the fundraiser idea.

“There was not a doubt in my mind that New Hamburg Lanes could be utilized,” he said. “We’re using a Canadian sport to support the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and refugees coming to Wilmot. It’s for a good cause, and an excellent way for residents to enjoy themselves after two years of COVID restrictions.”

Lanes can be booked for Bowling For Ukraine by calling 519-662-1938 or emailing ahallmanrmt@gmail.com.

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