A fisherman-owned seafood processing company in Sitka, Alaska with deep ties to Ukraine has reached out in a humanitarian effort with the donation of a 20-foot container filled with wild Alaska canned salmon and $130,000 USD to World Central Kitchen’s hunger relief program.
“Silver Bay Seafoods is deeply connected to Ukraine,” company spokeswoman Abby Fredrick said. “Our employees have family friends and colleagues who have been seriously impacted by the situation in Ukraine.”
“In particular, one of our long-standing fleet managers, Chris ‘Coach’ Hansen, was in Kharkiv with his wife and her daughter from the beginning of the attacks until they eventually found refuge in the Czech Republic,” she explained.
Hansen, a former Eastern Washington University football player, became the subject of a series of articles by the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, Washington, about how he and his family were trapped in the war zone, but were eventually able to safely escape.
“We were devastated by the reports and knew we needed to help,” Fredrick said. “So, we kicked off a donation program. After only a few weeks between fishermen, employees, and the company we were able to raise $130k to donate to the World Central Kitchen, a hunger relief program.”
“In addition to the monetary donation, we have a 20-foot container of Silver Bay Seafoods canned pink salmon headed to Ukraine as we speak,” he said in mid-May. “As a food producer, feeding people seemed to be the best way we could offer some relief during this incredibly difficult time.”
The container of canned pink salmon was heading for commissary kitchens, hospitals and other locations in Ukraine so that it could be placed into the hands of those in need.
“We have a strong bond and history with Ukraine that dates back to Silver Bay’s inception, when the Sitka facility first opened in 2007,” Silver Bay Seafoods co-founder Rich Riggs said. “We found that donating shelf stable canned pink salmon was the best option for direct food distribution in Ukraine considering these challenging circumstances.”
Riggs said that the company’s fishermen and staff were especially thankful to those who contributed with the freight and logistics associated with this humanitarian effort, including CMA CGM, GalaxSea Freight Forwarding, Salmon Terminals, SOGDA Limited, and others.
Of particular note was the trucking company Silver Bay and CMA CGM utilized: John Tkachenko, the owner of Container Dynamics Freight Services, was born in Odessa, Ukraine. Tkachenko trucked the first leg of the product’s journey to Ukraine, Riggs said.