Goodacity – Dare to be Good

Dried fruits, cereals, honey, nuts… These sweets make an unassuming, yet a rather special recipe. However, there are three special components that you will not find on any store shelf. These are amazing faith, sincere hope, and endless love for the country and those who are defending it now!

“We were forced to leave our home, which was shelled constantly, and I had trouble finding work, but I decided that I wanted to be useful to our soldiers since the first days of the war,” Vasylisa Chekalina, the confectioner, says. “I am in my element when making sweets, so I’ve decided to join the culinary front!”

Culinary talent can help the Armed Forces!

Before the full-scale Russian invasion, the woman’s family lived in Mykolaiv. This spring, the news of life under daily shelling was frightening and shocking for all of us.

“It was very difficult,” Ms. Vasylisa says. “Currently, the situation in the city is still difficult as well: no drinking water, no electricity… The houses of my many acquaintances were destroyed, the occupiers bombed the school where my son studied, the university where I studied…”

“My children and I were forced to leave our hometown; we found a temporary shelter in the Rivne region. People here treat us very well, they take care of us like family! We really like it here. I once dreamed of visiting western regions of Ukraine, but it was quite far, and the children were still very young… Now my son Daniil is 14 years old, and my daughter has turned three.”

“After February 24, I was completely confused at first, probably like most Ukrainians. But then the panic was replaced by thoughts about what to do to be useful, because every kind of help during the war is important.”

“I am an accountant by profession, but eleven years ago, I discovered my “sweet” vocation — I bake sweets, cookies, cupcakes, and cakes to order. And although Ukrainians are not really into sweets lately, I found my niche where I can do what I love and be useful to our defenders. I started making sweets, cookies, and energy bars for the army.”

“Vitamin bombs” and “combat bars”

Every week, the sweets baked by Vasylisa are delivered to the various front lines by local volunteers. These kinds of snacks are especially needed in the field!

“These sweets are much better than store-bought, thanks to the natural ingredients and nutrients. They are real “vitamin bombs” and “combat bars”,” the woman says. “And homemade food tastes especially better to soldiers who have not been home for a long time.”

“As for the recipe by which I make the energy bars, it varies quite often. After all, sometimes I don’t have some kind of dried fruit, but I have something else instead, so the taste changes every time and is brought to perfection.

I make them with whatever people bring. I have two main criteria for the energy bars: they should be both tasty and practical. After all, the guys don’t have time to cook on the front lines. For example, those who are on duty or in reconnaissance and don’t have an opportunity to cook, take 2–3 energy bars and it’s enough for them to continue. They say, you eat an energy bar, and you are not hungry for several hours. These words became the best motivation for me to go on!”

“When my son Daniil sees that I am making cookies or buns, he asks, “Is that for us or for the army?” He doesn’t even ask about the energy bars anymore, as he knows who they’re for. [she laughs] And he wouldn’t eat anything made for the guys in the army, I must persuade him to try! He says that it is more important for them, and I can cook some for us later.”

The password is “For the Army”

“I was buying the ingredients for the energy bars with my own money, but demand for them from the military is increasing over time, and our resources are limited because I do not have a job here. It is so nice that fellow villagers help us, bringing products for the energy bars. To make “vitamin bombs” you need a lot of dried fruit, seeds, nuts, honey, sesame seeds, and cereals every time, as well as cling film and parchment. All of these ingredients are costly. Thanks to caring people, we manage to collect and buy products for about 5 or 6 kilograms of energy bars in a week, that’s about 60–70 pieces. But I want to do more to feed our defenders! This is our nutritional help during the war.”

“It’s not just about cookies and energy bars, it’s about making them know that they have reliable and loving support here, while they are at the front lines. I’m grateful to Goodacity for the microgrant for funding the ingredients! We can charge our army with energy together! The more we help, the more sweets there are for the warriors. Each of us separately are not much, but together we are powerful!”

“I bought 23 kilograms of dried fruits, 3 kilograms of peanuts, and 15 kilograms of cereal with the funds from the microgrant.”

“Speaking of sponsors, besides Goodacity are the locals who donate the ingredients for the energy bars and cookies through the volunteer headquarters.

After receiving the microgrant, we increased the production. This week 11 kilograms of the energy bars already went to Bakhmut, which is currently a hot zone, and the same amount will be delivered in the following days.”

“The words “For the Army” are a kind of password nowadays, which all caring Ukrainians (and now almost everyone is volunteering!) recognize “our bunch” and help each other. The volunteers I work with helped me with an electric meat grinder; unfortunately, I can’t use it as often as I’d like due to the power outages.

Four hours of daylight is not enough to bake energy bars in full mode, as my oven also works on electricity, but I still do my best. And I weave camouflage capes in my spare time, also for the army!”