Low donations sparked furniture drive to help struggling Ukrainian newcomers to Edmonton

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress-Alberta Provincial Council held a furniture drive Saturday hoping to ensure no one goes without the essentials.

“The demand is increasing, the numbers of arrivals are increasing and we’re just not able to meet it with the current way of receiving furniture,” said the president of the UkrainianCanadian Congress Alberta Provincial Council Orysia Boychuk.

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Desperate for supplies, the group decided to reach out to people in the city willing to donate unwanted furniture. For a $20 donation to cover the trip, volunteers drove to people’s houses to pick up furniture.

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“It’s good to give back and understand what’s happening, people are coming here with nothing and need a lot of help,” volunteer Jeff Libbey said.

Boydchuck said roughly 500 hundred Ukrainians are arriving in Alberta each week. She anticipants that number to increase in the next few months.

There are a lot of desperate people arriving. A lot of people who are looking and needing the support, emergency housing, emergency food. They need help, they need help to get started,” Boychuk said.

She added many of the Ukrainians arriving are coming on an emergency visa, not as refugees.

“Typically, a refugee would come and have a year where they’re financially supported, they would come to a place, have a place to live and have all the supports they would need to get going,” Boychuk said. “That is completely not the case of Ukrainians arriving.”

She said many arrive to an empty home, that’s why they are reaching out to all who are willing to give.

“What we’re trying to do is reduce the poverty when they arrive, and providing them with a mattress, provide them with a couch and a kitchen table,” Boychuk said.

Essentials that hopefully make any new space feel more like home.

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Donation hours are Tuesday and Thursday 6 to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m.

For pick-ups and more information call 780-414-1624.

Donations can be dropped off at the warehouse located at 15330 114 Ave NW, Edmonton.