Wednesday , 6 July 2022

Helping Ukrainian newcomers get settled

The efforts in helping Ukrainians displaced by the war is bringing people together in the Bonnyville area with generosity and volunteerism.

Just like on Friday when members of the Bonnyville Football program were called in to move some furniture.

The Mickalyk family donated furniture to help newcomers from Ukraine get settled into new homes. They responded to a call from Michelle Mulligan, who is part of a Facebook group called Ukrainians in Lakeland, Alberta.

And people like the Mickalyk’s are stepping up to help.

“This family has a Ukrainian heritage and their grandparents when they immigrated Canada, it’s because they fled the war in Ukraine. So they generously gave furniture, kitchen wares, everything and so I reached out to the football team and here they are,” Mulligan told Lakeland Connect. 

The online group has been growing in members to just over 250 as of Monday afternoon, pooling resources and time to help in whichever way they can.

After an initial outpouring at the Vyshyvanka Day event in Bonnyville a few weeks ago, more families are beginning to arrive in the Lakeland region.

They are actively searching for available job opportunities or places to rent for these newcomers.

“The reason that it’s so hard for these families is because they’re coming to Canada with no credit history so it’s hard to find. And we’re getting jobs for them, we’re helping them out in every way we can. But if you feel it in your power that you can help these families out — that would be amazing,” said Mulligan. 

Robbie Cole, Bonnyville Amateur Football Association, said when get the call to help, it was a no-brainer.

“Community is everything. Everybody’s been touched, especially in this community. I’ve had great things happen to me before and honestly kids need to learn that it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. There’s stuff that happens in the world you gotta fight through so they, most of them, are sitting at home anyway today,” said Cole. 

The efforts continued on Monday as volunteers helped unpack dozens of boxes of clothes at the Ukrainian St. Elias Church.

You can join the Ukrainians in Lakeland, Alberta Facebook group if you’re interested in staying up to date on their causes.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.