Jan 23, 2024 - News

Charlotte baker will return to Ukraine to help orphans and widows

man stands in front of derelict building holding bread

Manolo Betancur in front of Bakery Хатинка Пекаря near Kyiv. Thanks to donations from Charlotteans, the bakery was able to build two new ovens. Photo: Courtesy of Manolo Betancur

Charlotte baker Manolo Betancur will return to Ukraine to help people affected by Russia's invasion, which began nearly two years ago.

Context: Betancur owns Manolo's Bakery in east Charlotte.

  • He's traveled to Eastern Europe twice before — first, to help feed Ukrainian refugees in Poland; six months later, he went to Ukraine to help rebuild a bakery that Russian soldiers had invaded.
  • With the help of funds raised by Charlotteans, he collected and donated $18,000 between both trips. That helped pay for two ovens for the aforementioned bakery and a van for bread delivery.

Why it matters: This time, Betancur will be partnering with an organization based out of Ukraine that helps widows and orphans who've lost their loved ones during the war.

"The war has not stopped; it has intensified. There is internal migration, more children without parents, more widows, more hunger, and more poverty, so they still need our help, bread, food, clothes, warmth, hugs, and prayers."
— Manolo Betancur

How it works: 10% of all sales from Manolo's Bakery king cakes for Mardi Gras will be donated to the cause.

What's next: Betancur will depart for Ukraine on Feb. 18. He'll be there through Feb. 25 — nearly two years to the date when the invasion began.

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