DUNEDIN — If you’ve been wondering how to help the people of Ukraine — and who hasn’t? — Bren and Jon Cueni of Dunedin’s Cueni Brewing Co. have the solution.
And it involves fresh beer on tap, so there’s all the more reason to help.
Cueni Brewing Co. will hold an all-day fundraiser for a Ukrainian family living in Clearwater on May 28, with a raffle at 4 p.m.
It’s more than altruism that motivates the Cuenis. It’s deep empathy for the people of Ukraine.
“It devastates me,” said Jen Cueni of the Russian invasion of the eastern European nation of 44 million. “I can’t imagine what these people are living through. We’ve been blessed and we’ve never had to go through anything like that. I can’t even put myself in that place, but if I was, I’d want someone to help me.
“You can’t even put yourself where you have children and your dog, and you don’t even know the language. We just want to show our love and allow them to start their lives again.”
They’re holding the all-day fundraiser in hopes of providing the family the resources they need to put a down payment on a car and purchase needed supplies so that the family can live independently in their new country.
In addition to the raffle the Cuenis are donating 50% of their profits on May 28 to the Levchenko family. The Ukrainian family, Katya, her husband Genya, their children and their pug, are living at the Clearwater home of Olena and Vesko Herun, owners of Dunedin’s Veskolini Café. Katya was a college roommate of Olena’s, and the Heruns were eager to help.
Jen Cueni believes that the willingness to help is a reflection of Dunedin’s friendly character.
“It’s been amazing how many people are offering to donate things. I want them to know their community cares,” she said.
The raffle will include items such as jewelry, gift cards from local restaurants, and other items.
Helping a Ukrainian family in need while drinking beer? That’s a winning combination.
“I really hope that it brings an awareness for people to help other people,” Jen Cueni said. “I’m hoping to set up this family with resources. I want this family to know the community cares about them. We want to do anything we can to help, and I hope this fundraiser is an opportunity for others who don’t know how they can help while enjoying really good beer.”