Moosomin nears $100,000 fundraising for Ukraine, local motel opens to displaced people
Moosomin, Sask. –
A small community in southeast Saskatchewan is seeking to open its doors to people displaced by war in Ukraine.
Moosomin, a community of just under 2,500 near Highway 1 and near the Manitoba border, is not necessarily the most Ukrainian community in Saskatchewan. It was not built by Ukrainian settlers, like a Canora or a Kamsack, but its multicultural community came together in late February when Ukraine was invaded by Russia.
According to Ukrainian business owner Roman Chernyk, the community itself sent about $25,000 to the relief efforts. Their total fundraising now stands at around $40,000, with another $50,000 expected to be raised Saturday at a community event.
“It makes me proud to be a part of this community, because Ukraine is so far away – but people’s hearts are still connected, due to historical paths…it’s amazing, to see the whole community stand up and help…I can’t say enough,” Chernyk said.
Chernyk and fellow Ukrainian Olga McCarthy spearheaded the fundraising campaign.
McCarthy moved to Canada nearly 20 years ago, but she still has plenty of family in Ukraine.
“We are all very grateful for how the community and people here have responded to me on this issue. It’s so nice for them to support and help us,” she said.
Thanks to a fundraising initiative launched by Chernyk’s business – an all-you-can-eat Ukrainian buffet – the pair had a focus for their campaign. Items sent include baby formula, clothing, non-perishable food, to name a few.
OPENING OF THE AUTOMATIC DOORS: UKRAINIANS WELCOMED AT THE MOOSOMIN MOTEL
The community does not stop at donations.
He wants people displaced by war to come to Moosomin and find refuge in the war-torn country and hopes the use of a motel could help his efforts.
Originally from Czechia, Josef Tesar was once in the current shoes of the Ukrainians, in 1980.
He was forced from his home during the Russian invasion, skipping a few European countries before his family moved to Prince Albert.
A few decades later, Tesar owns Motel 6 in Moosomin. He said he was ready to renovate a few rooms – out of his own pocket – to create larger suites for displaced Ukrainians.
“It’s nice to open a big facility, where people can stay and have peace of mind,” Tesar said.
He doesn’t know when the displaced Ukrainians will be here — if at all — but when they arrive in Canada and find safety in Saskatchewan, he wants to at least be an option after the trauma of war Ukrainians have endured.
In total, Tesar can accommodate up to 40 families in its hotel, blocking half of the rooms for Ukrainians.
However, the community will not stop at these initiatives. McCarthy and Chernyk, along with Tesar, reiterated that they will do whatever it takes to show Ukraine they have their back – and that they will continue to fundraise and plan until the end. end of the war and that peace be found in Ukraine.