Town of Oliver approves grant in aid request for Canada-Ukraine project

Helping Ukrainians settle in

A group of volunteers in Oliver are working to help families fleeing the conflict in Ukraine to establish new homes in the South Okanagan.

On Monday, the ADRA Canada-Ukraine Nightingale Project requested a grant in aid in the amount of $2,500 from council.

"We are interested in helping people that are being displaced out of Ukraine. As many of you have watched on the news, this is almost one year to the date since it started and it's been very difficult for many of these people," Greg Thorp, the co-chairperson for the Ukraine Nightingale Project said.

"Many of their homes have been destroyed. Their towns have been destroyed. Infrastructure that they have has been lost, including schools. There are many people at the borders that can go forward and can't go backwards. And so there is an interest in bringing some of these fine people here to the South Okanagan."

The small group of volunteers works to help families learn English, set up bank accounts, enroll in schools and transport them to Kelowna to be checked over by a certified medical team, among other supports.

Thorp said last year he assisted with the fundraiser 1000 Rides Out, which provided families fleeing Ukraine with airline tickets to enable them to make the journey to Canada.

"This community was very generous and we raised that weekend an excess of $27,000 to $28,000."

The group asked for the donation to help support new arrivals and set up two upcoming fundraisers, one at Frank Venables auditorium and one at Penticton’s Cleland Theatre.

"We expect that we will be able to get a number of dollars raised and also we are hoping to get more volunteers who will help us in the south Okanagan."

Council unanimously approved the grant.

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