Ukrainian parishes in Montreal want to send aid to Ukraine

MONTREAL. Donations have been pouring into Ukrainian parishes in Montreal since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but organizers say they are facing major hurdles, such as airfare and uncertainty about beneficiaries.

The parishes have divided tasks: some volunteers collect materials for the front, others prepare gifts for refugees who will come to Canada.

Volunteers Anna Tatsenko and Marta Zybko want to find a way to send material to Poland, a neighboring country to Ukraine. While the first is engaged in logistics, both in Canada and in Ukraine, the second is engaged in financing.

“That’s the difficulty: send the cargo,” admits Ms. Zybko.

Ms Tatsenko says the fastest way to get goods to Ukraine is by plane from Montreal to Warsaw. She hopes to find him in the coming days. Parishes also ship their packages via Toronto or Halifax, but this incurs additional costs.

“We are trying to help people, we are trying to make a difference in this country,” she said. That’s why it’s important to ship these items by air. Medicines, people need them now.”

More than 3.7 million Ukrainians have fled their country since the conflict began, according to the UN Refugee Agency. The number of internally displaced persons is estimated at two million.

The Ukrainian Catholic parish of Saint-Michel in the Ville-Marie region also makes sure that these goods are delivered to those who need them most.

“We are starting to communicate with volunteers in Europe, Poland and Ukraine. They are asked what they need,” Ms. Tatsenko says. The information was obtained from different regions of Ukraine. We work with volunteers. We focus on what is needed: dressings, anticoagulants, sutures.”

The priest of Saint-Michel Yaroslav Pivtorak does not hesitate to lend a helping hand. Through an interpreter, he says that the efforts of his parish complement those of humanitarian organizations.

The nave of his equalizer is filled with boxes of non-perishables, diapers, baby food, feminine hygiene products and underwear. In addition, about 100 pallets are stored in a warehouse located near Pierre-Trudeau Airport.

Experts say it’s important to balance money and goods when sending aid overseas to avoid wastage. Because needs can change quickly, money gives charities a lot of flexibility.

Ms. Zybko says the materials are supported by people in Poland who are in close contact with the Ukrainian community in Montreal.

“Everything is coordinated by representatives of the Ukrainian government,” she adds. We know that these goods go from Poland to Ukraine on trucks to major cities. Then they are taken to the villages. shorter would be easier [avec de l’argent]but now there are so many needs.”

Due to lack of space, the parish stopped collecting clothes, furniture, and toys. Instead, he asks donors to wait for refugees to arrive before sending such items.

Instead, Ukrainian parishes in Montreal are asking for survival items that are more useful in a war zone: medical equipment, durable foods, feminine hygiene products, batteries, thermal clothing, or insulated beverage containers.

Ms. Tatsenko was born in Ukraine. She came to Canada over ten years ago. His next of kin are still there.

“Thank God! They are fine. There are no active battles near them. According to her, they are relatively safe. I want to help people because there is no difference between our relatives and strangers. This is our home country. We want to help our people.”

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