Volunteers with the Ukrainian Canadian Volunteer Association in the Central Okanagan and the United Way fed more than 150 firefighters and first responders fighting the McDougall Creek wildfire Monday.
The initiative started when Svitlana Shkyn of the volunteer association reached out to Jeanne Legua of United Way to find out how they could help.
Legua connected Shkyn with Westside Salvation Army coordinator, Jennifer Henson.
Together they created an action plan to cook and deliver 160 authentic Ukrainian meals that include borscht, nalysnyky (crepes) and fried stuffed buns to frontline first responders.
Many of the volunteers who prepared the meals are refugees themselves.
“We greatly appreciate all the support Ukrainian people get from the Canadian citizens. It is our time to pay back for all the great support we have received and continue to receive,” said Shkyn. “That's what community is all about. When one gets in trouble, the others get together to help.”
Bonnie Penner of the Bravery Foundation, a Canadian CRA registered charity located in Kelowna, is coordinating ‘Ukrainian Work Bees’ to help with property clean-up for both the McDougall Creek Wildfire, Clifton/McKinley Fire and the Lake Country Wildfires. She is also spearheading other initiatives with local organizations so those who’ve experienced loss due the fires in the Central Okanagan, get the assistance they need.
“My family and I were evacuated in the 2003 Okanagan Mountain Fire, and keenly understand what our community is going through. 20 years later, we are here to assist in any way we can,” said Penner.
Shkyn is the general manager at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott in West Kelowna and is grateful her employer provided UCVA volunteers space to organize meals for the first responders.
Donations to help pay for the ingredients for future meal preparation and other fire related initiatives can be made to UCVA by e-transfer to: [email protected]