OLDS — An Olds resident who helped bring members of his extended family from Ukraine to Olds is praising the way the community has pitched in to support Ukrainian refugees arriving in the community.
“I believe there are a number of Olds residents helping out many Ukrainian families individually with a multitude of assistance that is just happening every day, “ Peter Premachuk wrote in an email to the Albertan.
“I only hear about it anecdotally but understand that there is lots going on.”
Members of the Olds business community have pitched in to help with needs like next-day dental care, medical appointments, discounts on clothing or vehicles, he said.
Last spring, Premachuk, with the help of relatives and others, managed to bring about seven Ukrainian relatives to Olds.
About 35 Ukrainian people fleeing the Russian invasion are currently living in Olds and area according to Audrey Gross.
She chairs the Olds subcommittee of the Red Deer-based Ukrainian Displaced Persons Planning Committee (UDPPC) and is also hosting a Ukrainian family.
Premachuk is a member of the Rotary Club of Olds. He and fellow Rotarian Mary Turner noted that organization has done many things to help newcomers get settled in the community.
He said that help has included:
- Sponsoring and staging a Christmas dinner for all Ukrainian families in Olds;
- Applying for receiving a grant from the Rotary district to provide winter clothing reimbursement for Ukrainian families.
- There have also been various donations to some families for furniture and other items.
In some cases where furniture was not available, some individual Rotary members made cash donations towards those purchases.
A few Rotarians are also providing rides to appointments as well as assistance with shopping for specific household items.
In addition, Turner said the Rotary Club was involved in a dinner for Ukrainian newcomers held near Thanksgiving.
Despite all that help, the need for assistance remains constant, Turner indicated.
She was given to understand that more refugees arrived from Ukraine around Christmas time.
Turner said there is still a great need for host families, housing, and employment for the new residents. If you can help, contact Audrey or Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Families are being reunited here in Olds. The wait for a parent, children or other family members is an ongoing scenario,” she wrote.