Croatian Hall fundraiser 'still going strong'

·3 min read

The Croatian Hall fundraiser is moving along and will continue in 2022.

Last year, the Croatian Society: Schumacher launched a fundraising campaign to raise $150,000 to do repairs to the roof and foundation at the historic Croatian Hall.

The campaign’s goal has increased to $200,000 due to the rising cost of material and labour, said society's board member Kathy Vukobratic.

“Because of all COVID restrictions this past year, we didn’t reach our goal,” Vukobratic said. “The estimates we were given pre-COVID have altered dramatically, by no fault of the contractors but the way things have transpired.”

So far, the campaign has raised about $115,000 comprised of personal, business and in memoriam donations.

The Croatian society is currently waiting for some corporate donations as well.

Vukobratic said the society feels confident it will reach its goal and said the members are very “enthusiastic” about the future.

“Our renovations have been coming along splendidly and we’re really excited to showcase the hall with all its renovations completed,” Vukobratic said. “We have beautiful new lighting. Windows are coming in in the next few days. There are quite a few more things to do but it’s coming along.”

The group tried different ways to boost their fundraiser this year.

It introduced Easter and Thanksgiving bundles that were sold out in less than 24 hours. The bundles consisted of cabbage rolls, homemade perogies and apple strudel.

Recently, the society offered $50 Christmas bundles that included a dozen of homemade cabbage rolls and apple strudel.

Croatian Christmas cookies were also offered and sold out in less than 12 hours.

“Those are the recipes that passed down from our beloved mothers who are now deceased,” Vukobratic said. “We are pleased and we are very proud we could showcase our baking. These are cookies that are family tradition and cookies that we’ve had on our tables for years and years.”

The Croatian Society has also started selling $30 embroidered Croatian aprons in black or white. All proceeds from the sales will support the Croatian Hall.

If people are looking for Christmas gifts, they can make a donation in someone’s name and the society will showcase it, Vukobratic added.

The hall on Father Costello Drive in Schumacher was first built as a theatre in the 1920s. A group of Croatians then bought the building and renovated it to have a place where they could gather to celebrate their heritage.

Throughout the years, the building has served as a hub for all types of social gatherings, weddings, parties and even funerals.

The hall isn’t currently open to the public but the society is looking forward to opening its doors next year.

“We’re still going strong. Due to COVID, we had to put a halt to a few things and we haven’t been able to have our Christmas parties or dinners,” Vukobratic said. “But we’re looking so forward to starting that up again. And we’re so proud of our hall as we always have been.”

There are different donation levels: bronze ($50), silver ($100), gold ($200), platinum ($1,000) and diamond ($5,000 and over). Donors’ names would then be engraved on a permanent plaque and displayed in the front lobby at the hall.

To donate, visit croatiansocietyschumacher.com or email Kathy Vukobratic at kvukobratic@hotmail.com.

Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com

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