Common Man to send up to $1M to help Ukrainians

  • Alex Ray, owner of the Common Man restaurants around the state, puts up a sign ealier this year after the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. GEOFF FORESTER

The Laconia Daily Sun
Published: 5/24/2022 6:07:07 PM

The Common Man hospitality company will match up to $1 million in donations to the United Way for the Common Man Ukraine Relief Fund to support Ukrainian refugee assistance in countries surrounding Ukraine - including Poland, where Common Man founder Alex Ray is identifying needs and service providers and assisting Rotary Club International’s efforts to help.

“We’ve lined up five days of meetings with people who can show us the work that is underway and what needs exist,” said Ray, who left May 15 with other Plymouth Rotary members to meet with the club’s Polish and Ukraine representatives in Warsaw and Lviv. “We’ll make sure it’s secure and we’ll develop relationships with those we can trust to direct the funds to go immediately to the most critical projects,” he said. “We want or donations to go from our hand to their land.”

The Common Man has been part of a Granite State-based effort to bring relief to the region and recently offered its restaurants as collection sites for donations of critical supplies, which netted vans full of medical supplies, diapers, toiletries and more, said Erica Murphy, the company’s communications director. Now the Common Man chain of stories and eateries has partnered with Granite United Way as fiscal agent to provide a convenient way for people to donate to the relief efforts.

“Poland’s non-profits are trying to figure out how to handle a large influx of people,” said Murphy, director of communications and community relations for The Common Man Family in New Hampshire, which consists of 15 restaurants, two inns, a movie and performance center, a wedding and event venue and other tourism-related businesses. Murphy said that Ray and other Rotarians were planning to look at a stadium in Lviv which has been converted to a refugee shelter. The fund had collected $21,400 in donations since May 12, she said.

“Alex Ray has the vision and passion to help others, and this generous match showcases that,” said Patrick Tufts, CEO and president of Granite United Way, which offered to be a collection center for online donations and checks. “Alex recognizes that we can do more, more effectively, when we work together.”

“He’s there to build relationships and see the need on the ground so when we close out the Common Man Relief Fund, he has personal connections, organizations and churches that are going to assist” with ongoing relief and make sure the money goes where it’s needed most, Murphy said.

Ray said that while people outside the war-torn region can’t change what Ukrainians are going through, donations reduce their suffering by helping them secure medicine, food, comfort and safety.

Contributions to the Common Man Relief Fund can be made online at graniteuw.org or by texting CMAN4UKRAINE to 41444. A link can also be found at thecman.com. All donations will be directed to relief efforts in Ukraine and countries supporting Ukrainian refugees, and will be matched dollar for dollar, producing a combined donation of $2 million, according to the company’s press release. For more information, go to graniteuw.org or thecman.com.

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.



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