Regional community shows support for Ukraine

Sun Peaks resident helping to gather money and supplies for fellow Ukrainians needing protection
A rally in Kelowna. Photo from Kelowna Stands with Ukraine on Facebook.

As the war on Ukraine continues, some regional Ukrainian community members have been fundraising and collecting military supplies.

Uliana Kotsur, a Ukrainian who has lived in Sun Peaks for over two years, is part of a Kelowna-based group supporting peers and relatives back home.

Kotsur said the group has held two rallies in Kelowna so far and members frequently share important information in the Facebook group Kelowna Stands with Ukraine. In collaboration with the Ukrainian Catholic Church, they have also been raising funds and gathering donations of tactical supplies.

Some of the high priority items they are looking for include first aid kits, binoculars, range finders, military boots, walkie talkies, night vision equipment and medical supplies.

“It’s really a dangerous situation [in Ukraine] and lots of people have been hurt by bombs and shooting,” Kotsur said. “It’s really hard to find [military supplies] in Europe because lots of stuff is already sold out … So we collect all that in our church and then send it to Ukraine.”

Kotsur said watching the conflict has been a shock for the Ukrainian community in the area. Members have been doing all they can to help because “there’s only one Ukraine.”

“We have no option to give up,” Kotsur said. “I really appreciate everyone who supported … If somebody’s going to Kelowna for the weekend, I’m so happy to see everyone from Sun Peaks join our rally.”

Kotsur said people have been coming from all over the region to rally with them in Kelowna. Moving forward, they are planning bigger fundraising projects to gather the community.

On March 12 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., there will be a fundraising effort at the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Kelowna featuring homemade Ukrainian food and other products from the Ukrainian community.

Kotsur said the group will continue to post about gatherings and other important information in its Facebook group. She added that she appreciates any support, including from those who can’t gather but still reach out.

“I have a lot of support from people all around the world. They messaged me [even though I haven’t] connected with them for 10 years or 15 years,” Kotsur said. “Because not everyone knows that I am in Canada right now … You know, it’s breaking my heart.”

For anyone who is unable to join the rallies or donate military supplies, the group is accepting e-transfers at [email protected]

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