St. Basil church helps Ukrainian refugees buy winter clothes

Some Ukrainian refugees in Edmonton are approaching their first winter in Alberta and a local church is hoping to help a few families weather the cold.

The St. Basil’s Aid for Ukrainian Newcomers Committee has been collecting donations, and Tuesday night they sent 16 Ukrainian families shopping for winter gear.

“We call it Operation Winter Clothes for Kids,” said Kathy Sosnowski, from St. Basil’s Ukrainian Catholic Church, adding it’s hard to clothe three or four children and fewer winter coats to buy means more money for food and other necessities.

St. Basil raised $5,000, which was matched by Walmart South Common where the families shopped.

“We wanted to give the children something nice and warm for the winter days ahead,” Sosnowski said. “We know how cold Edmonton can be and they’ve been through a lot, and we wanted them to have a little bit of happiness and warmth in their lives.”

Nataliia Bodnarchuck came to Canada around three months ago, pregnant with her husband and two children. She said the family fled Ukraine to find a safe, stable home for their kids, and it’s been difficult to build their life back from nothing.

Since arriving, Bodnarchuck gave birth to twins. The whole family of six was out shopping for winter clothes Tuesday.

“We so appreciate St. Basil’s church that they helping us to pass this winter, which is expecting to be much more colder than in Ukraine,” Bodnarchuck said.

Around 35 kids took part in the shopping spree, with each child receiving $125 and each newborn getting $80 to spend on cold weather gear, like snowsuits, boots and touques.

“It’s hard to leave your life, style of life, everything what you have and move to a new country,” said Oleksandrn Lushchyk, who came to Edmonton with wife and four children around a month ago.

“When we come to Canada on September, everyone says you are going to have about a month of autumn and then winter, so this program is help us to prepare for winter,” he said.

The church has two more shopping dates planned using the current donations, and Sosnowski said all the spots are already filled with other families needing winter clothes.

Donations for future trips can be made to the St. Basil’s Aid for Ukrainian Newcomers Committee.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Amanda Anderson 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *