'We can help': Triangle businesses partner to raise awareness, fundraise to aid Ukrainian refugees

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Seventeen Triangle businesses have teamed up to raise funds and spread awareness of the ongoing refugee crisis in Ukraine.

"I think connecting with the businesses and showing we are here in Raleigh, we are in the Triangle-area, but there is something we can do for these millions of people who are being forced to leave their freedom and forced to leave their home with nothing and find somewhere else to go. And we can contribute, we can help, even if it's just through a monetary donation," organizer of The Freedom Fundraiser, Casey Watson said.

Watson reached out to dozens of businesses, with those agreeing to participate choosing to either pledge a portion of proceeds or make a set donation. Four businesses offered prizes to raffle off, with donors getting one raffle ticket for every $10 donated.

Fliers are also on display at the businesses which include a QR code users can scan and choose which organization they want to contribute towards. Since beginning Monday, Watson said they have raised $7,100 from about 300 donors.

"It's overwhelming. I've broken down many times," said Watson, adding she hoped to raise $10,000.

Humble Pie, a restaurant in Raleigh's Warehouse district, is one of the participating restaurants.

"What's going on is terrible, and we believe anything we can do - either small or large - can help the cause for the people in Ukraine," said Humble Pie manager Lauren Gurule.

Watson plans to accept donations through Sunday morning, before drawing for the raffle in the afternoon.

"The images that are coming across the screen are overwhelmingly sad and heartbreaking, and it's just something that we should never have to see. I can't even imagine experiencing it. So, to have people here in Raleigh actually take part (in donating), and say 'we want to do something', is incredible," Watson said.
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