Local bakery owner makes second trip to help Ukraine

The owner of Manolo’s Bakery raised money to help bakeries in Kyiv and Bucha.
The owner of Manolo’s bakery raised money to help bakeries in Kyiv and Bucha.
Published: Nov. 27, 2022 at 9:14 AM EST

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Manolo Betancur, who owns Manolo’s Bakery in Charlotte, said he was ready to fight in Ukraine after the war escalated in February.

“I left America ready to die,” he explained.

As an immigrant who fled a war in Colombia himself, he knew the struggles war brings. But as a baker, he found another way to help.

“I said, ‘well I’m in the bakery business, if I help...bakeries...I can help people because people are going to be hungry,’” explained Betancur.

After raising money from customers, rotary clubs, and local churches, he traveled to the Polish-Ukrainian border in May and farther into Ukraine in November.

Betancur said the $8,000 raised for his latest trip went towards rebuilding damaged bakeries, providing new equipment for them, feeding people, and donating to suffering families.

“He has a lot of feelings inside that Manolo take all the risks to come,” said a Ukrainian baker on one of Manolo’s videos from the trip.

“If a simple bakery on Central Avenue owned by immigrants can do this much, imagine what we all can do together,” added Betancur.

Betancur said you can still donate at his bakery on Central Avenue. They are also selling coffee through which all profits go 100% to helping Ukraine.