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8-year-old Lower Mainland resident sells paintings to help Ukrainians

Ava Gambling and her brother James, 4, raised more than $1,000
Ava Gambling sold her paintings to raise money to help Ukrainian people through the Canadian Red Cross. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Ava Gambling had a collection of paintings that she didn’t know what to do with – until the day Russia invaded Ukraine. She could see families with children, like herself, being displaced by war.

She knew, then, that she wanted to sell her art to help the Ukrainian people who had been forced to leave their homes and their lives behind.

The eight-year-old, who has been painting since she was in preschool, gathered her paintings together and held a fundraiser.

Both Ava and her four-year-old brother James, who wanted to help as well, set up a stand at 9 a.m. on Sunday, March 27, for a sale. James sold hot dogs, hot chocolate, iced tea, and chips in support.

A week ahead of time Ava put posters, advertising the art sale, in every mailbox in her neighbourhood. Paintings were sold by donation.

The pair raised $503. Ava sold about 20 paintings and her brother about 36 hot dogs and 25 bags of chips.

Ava said she knew she had to sell her paintings to raise money because people in the Ukraine needed help.

“I know a lot of people are losing their homes and they have to live in the subway. And Russia is just destroying everything they ever had,” noted the Grade 3 Fairview elementary student.

This isn’t the first fundraiser for Ava. She held a lemonade stand and art sale in support of people across the province displaced by the summer’s forest fires at her grandparents’ cabin at Cultus Lake.

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Some of Ava’s paintings include a girl walking along a path into the sun with her dog, koala bears, the character Sonic the Hedgehog, and the character Pikachu, from Pokemon, on a mountain. She also enjoys making clay sculptures.

“It’s a good exercise for my hands and you can do anything with it,” she said. “And I have, like, an eye for small details,” added the sculptor, holding up some of her creations including a miniature baguette, pizza, and the characters Yoshi, a Nintendo dinosaur, and Captain Underpants, from the illustrated novels by Dav Pilkey.

She sculpted all the characters from Nintendo’s Super Mario games and Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog games for the fundraiser and sold them all.

Ava’s family and friends also pitched in to help bringing their final total to $1,063, that she will be donating to the Canadian Red Cross Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal.

“I hope it helps give toys to the kids that don’t have any in the Ukraine, I hope that it helps give them a life, gives them their life back from being in war,” added Ava.

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Ava Gambling sold her paintings, and her brother James sold hotdogs, to raise money to help Ukrainian people through the Canadian Red Cross. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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