Kingston Candy Bar’s Diane Reeder sells delish vegan donuts to support refugees.

by Rebecca Hardiman

Back in March, when longtime Kingston resident and culinary chef Diane Reeder first saw images of the unprovoked war Ukraine was enduring, she was, like so many others around the world, deeply troubled. “I was thinking about a family leaving their home and having to live in a subway underground and never knowing where or even if they’re gonna be able to return home,” says Reeder, owner of Kingston Candy Bar on Wall Street. “Their only other option is to flee. Then they’re showing up in a new place with nothing because they couldn’t even grab their things. It’s always the people with kids or the elderly, and who’s helping them?” 

Well, Diane Reeder for one. 

Long inspired by Chef José Andrés and his World Central Kitchen, which brings immediate food relief to victims of war and natural disasters across the globe, Reeder got on the horn to her fellow Culinary Institute of America graduates to brainstorm. Soon enough, she came up with a sweet concept: decorating her donuts with Ukraine’s signature flag colors with proceeds sent to the World Central Kitchen or her Airbnb host partner, customers’ choice.   

“We heard about people in Ukraine booking Airbnb rooms and I thought that was a really cool idea,” she says. “Our wholesale price for a dozen donuts covers the cost of an Airbnb in Poland where it’s cheaper. I was able to find the perfect host, a single woman with a spare bedroom and a pullout sofa. She takes in refugees and doesn’t charge them, and the money we raise helps meet their basic daily needs—food, shampoo, soap, all those things.”

Reeder worries that as the war continues, otherwise good people will be less attuned to supporting its victims. “When something is big, like the splash of the moment, it’s very popular and then it can kind of die down,” she says. 

Photo: (Reeder) John Fischer

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