Two New Brunswick women have started a Facebook group aimed at coordinating Atlantic Canadian efforts to assist people displaced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Saint John residents Carol Ailles and Anette Malinowski just met face-to-face this week – but are already seeing success in their online group “Atlantic Canada hosts for Ukrainian Refugees.”
Ailles says she was inspired by similar pages in other regions of Canada – as the country says it will bring in an unlimited number of refugees, providing temporary residency for up to three years.
“There are so many people willing to take families in, but it’s so difficult to get all the steps taken care of,” Ailles says.
She says this group isn’t meant to match Maritimers with incoming Ukrainian families but instead to serve as something of a hub for those looking to cover any associated costs, or ask questions.
“We all want to help,” she says.
Ailles herself has sorted her spare bedroom out, should she get the call to host some displaced.
She – and many of the other members of the group – have registered through icanhelp.host, one resource used to let potential refugees see where there’s a bed for them.
In the meantime, Malinowski has already found one Ukrainian family to help – a couple and their nine-year-old daughter.
“I’m ready,” she says. “It’s a good feeling.”
Since the “Atlantic Canada hosts for Ukrainian Refugees” Facebook group was created on March 17, more than 500 people have joined.
Some are offering space in their homes, some are offering donations of clothing or cash, and others offer services like translation.
“Use what you can,” Ailles says.