With the holiday season approaching, as Russia’s war on Ukraine approaches the 10-month mark, Ukrainians are facing a harsh winter Due to Russian attacks on the country’s energy system.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky criticized this month Russian President Vladimir Putin is leaving many parts of Ukraine without heat, water and electricity, thanks to his “energy terrorism”.
Due to the ongoing war many Ukrainians have decided not to celebrate this year Christmas – Even Nothing to Celebrate, Olga Lastovetska, A Ukrainian Canadian who is also an online fitness trainer in Toronto, told Global News.
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“Our hearts are broken by what’s happening there, and our families are there,” Lastovetska said. “Everyone is busy fighting. It is not taking much time to plan the ceremony.”
Traditionally, Ukrainians begin celebrating their Christmas on January 6, which is known as Orthodox Christmas Eve. In recent years, it has become more popular to celebrate December 25 in Ukraine as well.
While Ukrainian Canadians are able to holiday in a safe environment, many people have decided to support those who live in Ukraine and Ukrainian newcomers to Canada.
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Lastovetska said she and her community in Ontario are stockpiling supplies such as winter clothing, diapers, baby formula. hygiene products and non-perishable food to Ukrainians in an effort to “bring that Christmas spirit to Ukraine”, adding that they do not belong to any organization, but are “a group of people who decided to help Have done.”
“We gathered lots of gifts, candy and lots of wonderful things to show the children in Ukraine that there is hope and we are with them,” Lastovetska said.
Soon, all the supplies for those in need will be on a flight to Ukraine, she said.
Elena Khvostova, director of the Vancouver-based non-profit Ukraine Harmony FoundationSaid the organization is planning a fundraiser for 200 orphans in the city of Dnipro in Ukraine to receive gifts.
He said an event would also be held for Ukrainian newcomer children to celebrate the holiday with traditional practices in Vancouver.
Khvostova said the goal is to brighten Children’s Day “even if it’s just for a few hours.”
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The gifts and party would be “a kind of distraction from the war” for the Ukrainian children, Khvostova said, adding that many are struggling with their new lives in Canada because of language and cultural differences.
Khvostova said, “Children shouldn’t be doing all this, but unfortunately, a country has decided that they should.” “If we can make them feel better for at least a few hours, that’s really a victory for us.”
Khvostova said a sixth wave of displaced Ukrainians would enter Canada after February 2023 and urged Canadians to help them.
“Any kind of generosity that can be extended to the Ukrainian people, not only at Christmas time but just on a daily basis, would be a wonderful thing,” she said.
In October, a group of Canadian, American and European volunteers came together and formed christmas gifts for ukraine Project with the goal of “bringing hope” to Ukrainian children with toys, gifts and children’s books.
Peggy Aumuller, one of the founding members of Christmas Gifts for Ukraine, said that what started as an initiative for children has now become a project to provide necessities to Ukrainians of all ages, as the times have changed. With “human needs have changed”.
“I realized the scope is huge and I hope to provide life-saving clothing, heat, we are working to try and get generators to an orphanage,” she said. “We are still providing gifts, but we are also working hard to supply the things that are essential to life.
“It’s getting colder out there and things are getting more desperate,” said Aumuller, who flew to Warsaw to work with local charity AidUA, as the team prepares to begin their distribution process between November 30 and December 10. Has been
“Kids are the future,” she continued. “As an educator, I firmly believe in this and that these kids need to know that people care.”
Camrose, Alta.-based Aumuller, who is not of Ukrainian descent herself, said people “don’t have to have Ukrainian blood” to care about what’s happening in the country.
“We’ve got (a lot of) people here in Canada,” she said. “If everyone donated $10, think how much good we could do.”
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