Donations pour in overnight for families fleeing Ukraine

The lobby of a Winnipeg hotel is packed with donations as people chip in to help families fleeing Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Noele Gauthier, the manager of Nor Villa Hotel, made a Facebook post asking for donations for four families fleeing Ukraine. The families are her children’s sitter, Olha Zablotski’s, family members.

“At least when they come they will have some sort of clothing and stuff to come to and feel like home again,” Gauthier said in an interview with CTV News.

Gauthier’s parents own the hotel and are giving Zablotski’s family rooms to stay in when they arrive.

“Hopefully the war will end soon but we are so blessed to have nice people around and we are so blessed to live in Canada,” Zablotski said.

Like Zablotski’s family – many Manitobans are rushing to bring Ukrainian family members to Manitoba, and immigration specialists are feeling the demand.

Immigration consultant Tetyana Vavriychuk is waiting for details on Canada’s new emergency travel program. Vavriychuk says it is, “hard to see people struggling, especially when we are receiving phone calls like actually from Ukraine.”

A spokesperson from the Province of Manitoba said in an email statement to CTV news, since March 1, there have been 16 nominated individuals from Ukraine through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program.

On Wednesday, 71 invitations to individuals from Ukraine were sent out as part of the province’s response to the ongoing invasion.

Aside from donating goods, more than 700 people have signed up to house refugees with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress in Manitoba.

“Obviously it is really pleasant and all that friendly Manitoba is exactly that,” Ostap Skrypnyk said on behalf of the congress.

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress is expecting a need for social supports and childcare once people begin arriving in larger numbers.

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