Volunteer organizations in Kelowna sending LifeStraw water filtration systems to Ukraine

Kelowna sends LifeStraws

Volunteer organizations in the Central Okanagan have ramped up fundraising in light of the latest war-related disaster in Ukraine.

Dozens of people attended a rally and march at Stuart Park in downtown Kelowna Sunday to raise awareness and funds to help the hundreds of thousands of people in Ukraine affected by the destruction of the Kakhovka dam on the Dnieper River.

Bonnie Penner of the Bravery Foundation told Castanet that she was approached by her friend Vlasta Fantych about helping to organize a rally, along with the Ukrainian Catholic Church, We Help Ukraine and Kelowna Stands Ukraine.

“Vlasta and I addressed the crowd together and spoke of the inhumane suffering and destruction the flooding caused. I shared information about a group of Western volunteers who currently had boots on the ground and boats in the water in Kherson and were actively rescuing people and pets. Atlas Global Aid is a a 501(c)(3) organization and NGO. They continue to rescue civilians despite being shelled by the enemy during rescue operations,” said Penner.

She adds that Lilia and Roman Myhnevych from We Help Ukraine brought to the rally more than 80 LifeStraws and asked the Bravery Foundation to ship them to the Kherson region. The personal water purification systems will be sent this week, in a shipment that also includes medical supplies.

Anna Vartanian, a member of the Ukrainian Canadian Volunteer Association, shared a story from the front line of the flooding, in a village called Sadove, which is in Kherson Region.

She explained how Sadove is now under water, even though it isn’t on the Dnieper river, but on the Ingulka, which flows into the Dnieper. Some of the homes, made of dried clay, collapsed while other homes and businesses are still filled with water.

“For more than a year, Russians occupy and do horrible things in Ukraine. Daily they kill civilians, shoot point-blank ambulance drivers on the frontline, kill animals at natural reserves and many more terrible things. It has no end,” said Vartanian.

Kelowna Stands With Ukraine will be dipping into existing funds, including a $6,057 donation from the sale of yellow and blue Ukraine toques by Big White Ski Resort to send immediate aid to the people displaced by the flooding. KSWU is also planning a fundraising concert on June 22.

Vartanian is pleading with people to do what they can to help.

"It’s so comfortable to say I’m just a little person, I can’t do anything in this situation,” said Anna.

“There are 7,942,645,086 people on the planet. The current population of the Russian Federation is 146,117,960, so it is around 1.8 % of all population on the Mother Earth.

What is the amount of little people in this numbers? I’m pretty sure there are much more little people than big inhumane people.”

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