As the world marks one year of Russia’s war in Ukraine, we stand compassionately with those affected by the war. It is hard to contemplate that it has been a year of continuing war, but we remain committed to welcoming displaced Ukrainians as they settle into their new communities and homes.
What began as greeting arriving Ukrainians at the airport and helping them with the basics, such as providing hygiene kits, soon included supporting agencies in finding appropriate housing, and has now opened up to United for Ukraine Local Love funds that sponsor cultural events.
A Year of Welcoming Ukrainians to BC
Over the past year, we have helped 520 British Columbians become hosts to around 400 displaced Ukrainians. As the war continues and more Ukrainians come to BC seeking a safe place, the demand for housing (both short and long term) is ever present.
We have also supported donations of goods and services, including assembling and distributing countless hygiene and activity kits thanks to volunteers, community members, and corporate partners. Through iVolunteer, we help agencies serving Ukrainians with volunteer recruitment and screening. More recently, we launched United for Ukraine Local Love grants to support events promoting Ukrainian heritage and culture. As well, a grant has helped partners, MOSAIC Settlement Workers in Schools and Simon Fraser University’s Friends of Simon, to offer a dedicated School’s Out program for Ukrainian children ages 6-12. Further helping children and youth, we funded 10 non-profit organizations through grants to facilitate English language and skill building programs.
Since United for Ukraine launched, the 211 British Columbia helpline has assisted 633 callers inquiring about supports and services for displaced Ukrainians. After arriving in BC, Ukrainians are encouraged to call 211 and speak with a Resource Navigator who will provide information on community and government supports available to help them adjust to living in British Columbia. 211 is available 24/7/365 and language interpretation is available.
Partners, Donors, and Volunteers Making Vital Connections
United Way British Columbia has always seen its role as strengthening vital connections that support people in need in our local communities. Helping displaced Ukrainians is an extension of that mission as we support their settlement into our local communities.
Though we recognize it’s been a year, we also acknowledge that the war continues, and so does the need. Our support does not end with us marking one year of the conflict, it will continue as long as the war continues and displaced Ukrainians need our help.
Because of our partnership with Government of British Columbia, 211 British Columbia, AMSSA (Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC), Ukrainian Canadian Congress, and other community partners, those who need help can access it, and those who want to help can find the opportunity to make a difference.
Thank you to all our partners, donors, volunteers, and the community members who rallied to support Ukrainians as they arrived and settled into their new homes. Without you, we could not continue to make a difference in people’s lives.