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A small-town baker is doing what he can to help Russia-Ukraine refugees who have arrived in Italy, and his plan involves selling “peace bread.”
Matteo Cunsolo, a baker in northern Italy, has been stenciling the word “peace” onto loaves of bread, and the money he makes from selling the baked good has gone toward charity, the Associated Press reports.
Cunsolo told the news outlet that he got the idea to sell bread for a good cause after he saw a TV report about Russia-Ukraine refugees showing gratitude when they were given bread and warm drinks at the Polish border.
“When I heard the word bread I thought – ‘OK I am a baker, what can I do to help?’” He said in an interview with the Associated Press.
According to Cunsolo, the peace bread’s stenciled words are made from a butter-based spray that’s been infused with blue butterfly pea flower powder or saffron.
The two colors were chosen because it looks similar to the colors used in the Ukrainian flag, which was adopted in 1848 and is supposed to look like a blue sky over a field of wheat.
Cunsolo said he bakes about 44 pounds of peace bread per day at his La Panetteria lab in Parabiago – a town near Milan.
He reports that he’s sold more than $2,214 worth of peace bread and the funds have been donated to a local chapter of Lions Clubs International, a community service organization, which is reportedly holding a charity drive in the area.
The Italian baker has connected with other culinary experts in his area to make 1,325 pounds of cookies.
Cunsolo and his partners are planning to give the cookies away to refugees along with a truck full of food, clothes, diaper and other essential items they gathered from altruistic citizens.
“After running away from the bombs, perhaps traveling across forests by night in the cold, I think a cookie is like a little cuddle that can help bring a smile on a child’s face,” Cunsolo told the Associated Press.
The Russia-Ukraine war began on Feb. 24 after Russia invaded the Eastern European country.
Since then, the United Nation’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that more than 3.3 million people have fled Ukraine. The IOM also estimates that nearly 6.5 million people have been displaced in Ukraine due to the war.
Russia-Ukraine refugees are scattered all throughout Europe, especially within neighboring countries. Italy has stepped up, however, with a plan to take in 175,000 Ukrainian refugees, according to Reuters.
The news agency reports that 27,000 Ukrainian women and 21,600 Ukrainian children have already arrived in Italy, per interior ministry data.
It’s not immediately clear if there are refugees in Parabiago.
Despite this, baker Cunsolo told the Associated Press he believes “in trying to help others in any way you can.”
That sentiment appears to be shared all around the globe as business owners and private citizens find ways to raise money for humanitarian aid.
In San Antonio, a popular Ukrainian bakery has raised about $150,000 for the Ukrainian army.