A Crossfield resident recently rallied community members together in support of a Ukranian family that is seeking a safe haven in southern Alberta.
Natasha Bossé, who is currently unemployed, said though she is unable to contribute financially to help those affected by the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, she wanted to show support in whatever way she could, and an opportunity arose in an unlikely place.
According to Bossé, she had posted an advertisement for IKEA bed slats on VarageSale – a virtual garage sale app that enables its users to buy and sell goods – when she received a message from a woman who was eager to negotiate a lower price.
“After we got talking, she told me that she was getting a room ready because she had a family coming in from the Ukraine,” Bossé said. “Long story short, I drove the bed to her, and we got talking and I found out it was her family that was coming in.”
Moved to support the resident’s family, including her sister and two nieces (14 and three years old), Bossé posted on a Crossfield Community Facebook page, requesting members to donate new or used goods to the family.
“Everybody pretty much rallied together,” she said, adding Crossfieldians donated bicycles, toiletries, craft goods, puzzles, clothing, blankets, teddy bears, backpacks, and costumes. “It’s crazy – it was a little bit overwhelming.”
"I think [the family] is more overwhelmed than I was because for me, it was just the right thing to do.”
Bossé said though the newcomers arrived in Canada on April 4, she still has a full load of goods to deliver to the family to help them settle into their new home in Airdrie.
She said helping those who are fleeing a war-torn country seemed like a moral obligation.
“Being in Canada, you’ve lived in a peaceful country your entire life,” she said. “Chances are most people haven’t lived in the situation [this family has]. They have to leave their country in order to stay alive or to still have something at the end of the road.
“I think it was important to show them, even though there’s war and ugly things going on in the Ukraine, there’s still love and peace out there.”
Bossé added Crossfield residents came out in droves to lend the family a helping hand in their time of need.
“It wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the community of Crossfield and Airdrie,” she said. “I think it's just fantastic that people are rallying together.”
She said as a society of consumers, Canadians are in a unique position to support others who are less fortunate, by donating their extras. She added with more refugees looking to Canada and others for protection, there will be additional opportunities to help out.
“There’s more families coming, and I think right now, you can probably count a thousand different causes that you can give or donate to. But these families are coming here with the clothes on their backs and probably a suitcase,” she said.
Those looking to support the cause can also seek out local Ukrainian churches or organizations to donate time, money, or goods.
“Financial aid is extremely important,” Bossé said. “I’m not going to say it’s not, but for me, I'm not working, so financial help wasn’t an option.
“But I have lots of extras, so I think it’s important that instead of throwing [goods] out – just pass them on.”