ASSINIBOIA - For many communities across Saskatchewan, there is incredible support for those in Ukraine affected by the current invasion by Russia, and open arms are extended to those who are now refugees from their home country.
The Southland Co-op board of directors, along with the Rotary Club of Assiniboia, is working together to sponsor a Ukrainian refugee family, so they can come to the community, and find a sense of safety and security once again.
“The situation for these refugee families came up for discussion at one of our board meetings, and we felt that there was something that could be done,” explained Marc Topola, director with the Southland Co-op board.
He stepped forward to spearhead the research into what needed to be done to sponsor a refugee family. The Ukrainian Canadian Congress of Saskatchewan provided valuable information and resources to the project.
“The Southland Co-op board also decided to put down substantial money into assisting the project. The cost varies from family to family, or where they are coming from. Many of the refugees are not in Ukraine anymore, and they had to leave everything behind,” explained Topola.
“We have identified one potential family who has made it to Canada, as they are currently in Quebec, and that would reduce the cost of travel expenses.”
The committee is looking for housing and a location, and also employment opportunities for the refugee family. Until the sponsored family is confirmed, there is a lot of information that is unknown regarding what kind of clothing, furniture and other necessities the family might need.
“A lot of families do not have anything. It is hard to believe how much they have endured through this time, or what they are going through,” said Topola. “We want to support them the best way we can.”
The biggest hurdle would be a language barrier. There is one family in Assiniboia that is already committed to helping with language barriers, but other families and Ukrainian-speaking individuals would be appreciated.
Interested businesses, individuals or other organizations that want to assist with the sponsorship of the Ukrainian refugee family can contact Marc Topola at email@example.com, or contact Rotary club member Leanne Pituley at firstname.lastname@example.org, who works with the Assiniboia Housing Authority.