‘Ukrainian soul is in this dish’: Nonprofit teams with food truck to prepare traditional soup, raise funds for country

European Dumplings Cafe to prepare and sell borscht bowls over weekend

A fundraiser to feed the soul of Ukraine. The nonprofit organization Ukrainian San Antonio and a local food truck are hosting an event for the war-torn country by serving a popular dish this weekend.

SAN ANTONIO – A fundraiser to feed the soul of Ukraine. The nonprofit organization Ukrainian San Antonio and a local food truck are hosting an event for the war-torn country by serving a popular dish this weekend.

“Borscht is so delicious and the Ukrainian soul is in this dish,” said Olena Garcia, president of Ukrainian San Antonio.

Garcia was born and raised in Ukraine and grew up eating the traditional Ukrainian daily meal.

“It’s very well known. It’s on the list of Ukrainian most delicious foods, most delicious soups in the world,” said Garcia.

The soup is considered to be a symbol of unity and strength, and how many Ukrainians express their love for the country.

“Ukraine is so rich with traditions. Every region of Ukraine has its own recipe of cooking borscht,” said Garcia.

Olga Veretelnak left Ukraine in 1993. She and her husband, Simon Gutierrez, moved to San Antonio months ago and opened the European Dumplings Cafe food truck on the far West Side to bring Ukrainian foods and cuisine to San Antonio.

“It’s made with chicken, potato, lots of wedges, cabbage, pepper, hollowed-out carrots, tomato sauce and lots of spice,” said Veretelnak.

And this weekend, Veretelnak will prepare and serve borscht to help her loved ones and friends back home.

The food truck and Ukrainian San Antonio are hosting the 3-day fundraiser beginning Friday. There will also be live music and more food available for customers.

They want the proceeds from this warm and inviting dish to help protect Ukrainians from the cold winter months.

“I have lots of friends and they are my relatives there and it’s getting cold there,” said Veretelnak.

“We have so many requests for thermal wear, boots and the need is endless,” said Garcia. “The winter is coming and there is so much more needed.”

The fundraiser runs through 6 p.m. Sunday and the suggested donation is $5 a bowl.

Customers can purchase as many bowls of borscht as they would like and all proceeds will go directly to Ukraine to provide much-needed help.

Click here for more information on European Dumplings and here for more information on Ukrainian San Antonio.


About the Authors:

RJ Marquez is co-host of KSAT News Now and reports for Good Morning San Antonio. He's been at KSAT since 2010 and covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms, including his Spurs newsletter. RJ has reported stories for KSAT Explains.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.