As the Russian invasion of Ukraine intensifies and more lives are lost, Okanagan residents, many of Ukrainian descent, are banding together to lend their support to the war-torn country and its residents.
The latest initiative is a donation drive organized by the Church of Christ Kelowna.
The fundraiser just started but is already garnering quite a bit of attention, something Pavlina is deeply moved by.
“These packages we got in two, three days, We only just started and it’s so fast,” said Nazarii Pavlina.
“People care and I want to (say) thanks for open hearts, you know.”
Pavlina, who belongs to the church, helped spearhead the donation drive. He was born in Ukraine and still has family there.
“I talk to them every day and sometimes every night, too,” Pavlina told Global News. “They worry about all this. You never know what happens tomorrow.”
The list of items that are being collected is extensive.
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Items needed include clothing, non-perishable food, medical supplies, as well as baby and hygiene items.
“Think when you go on camping, what do you need? This is what items you would probably find helpful to guide you through what you can donate,” said volunteer Anna Dimitrov, who is also originally from Ukraine.
Feeling helpless, she was compelled to help with the donation drive, wanting to do something.
“We cannot just be standing by and watching it,” she said. “I was born there. I know the culture and it’s breaking my heart to see in 21st century the biggest crisis in Europe.”
The donated items will be sent to neighbouring countries such as Poland and Germany and then distributed to those in need in Ukraine and in refugee camps.
Items being collected include:
-Sterile gauze roll, bandaids, Ace-wrap bandages, Emergency first aid kits, Emergency bandage compression, Exam gloves, Neosporin, Sani-wipes. Medicine such as Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Advil, Vicks VapoRub, cough drops, Dayquil/Nyquil, Tums, Allergy medicine, Polysporin cream. Cortizone cream, Hand sanitizer, Alcohol first aid antiseptic, Hydrogen peroxide, Thermometres, Blood pressure monitors, Blood sugar monitors and Insulin syringes.
-Baby formula/baby food, Canned meats/tuna/salmon, Canned soups, Ready to eat canned food, Dried and canned beans, Dried and canned fruits and vegetables, Peanut butter, Teabags/coffee (ground, no beans), Grains (Rice, oats, barley), Powdered milk/powdered creamer for coffee, Packaged pasta, Granulated sugar, Granola/cereal/protein bars
-Sleeping bags/pillows/tents, Blankets/baby blankets, Backpacks (all sizes for child and adult), Child diapers, Adult diapers, Baby wipes, Diaper rash cream, Feminine products, Personal hygiene items, Pacifiers/bottles, baby/toddler/teen/adult clothing, Thermal garments of all sizes, Underwear and socks, Coats, shoes, Flashlights, Batteries
Donations can be dropped off at 1305 Gordon Drive (at the back of the First Mennonite Church building) Monday 5 -7 p.m., Friday 5-7 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
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