Sweet poutine helps Ukraine

·3 min read

THUNDER BAY, ONT. — The Mini Donut Shoppe’s doughnut emblem is hard to miss in business parking lots, leading one to a mouth-watering charity poutine that is helping to raise funds for Ukraine this month.

Instead of french fries, gravy and cheese, this poutine is made with deep fried mini donuts, buttercream and caramel with blue and yellow sprinkles representing the Ukrainian flag.

Justin Stam, owner of the Mini Donut Shoppe, says they like to help out in the community and they focus on one different charity per month.

“This month, it seemed like Ukraine was pretty suitable,” Stam said. “I thought it was cool that our doughnut poutine (package) was in the shape of a flag . . . it’s a rectangle. I figured it’d be cool if we could make the charity poutine look like the Ukrainian flag.”

Uncertain of where to donate the proceeds from the sale of the charity poutine, Stam went online and asked the public to help him find a suitable recipient.

“I haven’t heard great things about some charities and I know you have to be very careful. Your money can just get used up by top heavy charities where perhaps very little of the actual money that you’ve donated goes to helping the cause,” he said.

“I asked if anybody had any recommendations and somebody suggested the organization called Doctors Without Borders.”

Doctors Without Borders is an organization that provides medical humanitarian work to more than 70 countries and is involved in working with Ukrainian refugees.

Being one of the newer food trucks on the block, Stam says business has been going well over the year. With COVID-19 restrictions lifted, more people are venturing out and creating more needed foot traffic for his business.

“We’ve been doing good,” he said.

“I definitely can’t complain — but the weather — I can complain about the weather.

Stam says colder wet weather keeps people indoors and away from his food truck.

“I can’t complain. We have a lot of bookings for private events and weddings that are coming up this year,” he said. “I’m really happy with how everything’s going and I’m looking forward to better weather the rest of this year.”

Stam has prepared the online application set out by the City of Thunder Bay last week that requested vendors, entertainers and talent for upcoming city events. He is busy making plans to have the Mini Donut Shoppe at Summer in the Parks, Canada Day at the Marina and other venues.

“We definitely plan on being at a lot of the city events like Wake the Giant and we’re hoping to be at Country on the Bay, which is not quite confirmed yet,” he said.

Meanwhile, if anyone wishes to support Ukraine through the Doctors Without Borders charity, they can enjoy the charity poutine through the month at Home Depot on Sundays, Best Buy on Saturdays, and alternately Thursday and Friday at Beefcake Burger Factory, Canadian Tire Arthur Street, Fort William Clinic and Pet Value on Red River Road. For updated location dates, check out the Mini Donut Shoppe Instagram and social media pages.

Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal

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