Moosomin, Sask. –

A small Saskatchewan southeastern community is looking to open its doors to those displaced from the war in Ukraine.

Moosomin — a community of just under 2,500 off Highway 1 and nearing the Manitoba border — isn’t necessarily the most Ukrainian community in Saskatchewan. It wasn’t built by Ukrainian settlers, like a Canora or a Kamsack, but its multi-cultural community banded together in late February, when Ukraine was invaded by Russia.

According to the Ukrainian community business owner Roman Chernyk, the community has sent around $25,000 itself to relief efforts. Their fundraising totals now sit at roughly $40,000, with another $50,000 expected to be raised Saturday at an event in the community.

“It makes me proud of being a part of this community, because Ukraine is so far away — but peoples hearts are still connected, due to historical ways… this is amazing, to see all of the community stand up and helping… I can’ don’t say enough,” said Chernyk.

Both Chernyk and fellow Ukrainian Olga McCarthy have been spearheading the fundraising campaign.

McCarthy moved to Canada nearly 20 years ago, but she still has a lot of family in Ukraine.

“We are all just so very grateful for the way the community and the people around here have responded to this problem. It’s so nice for them to have our back and to help,” she said.

Through a fundraising initiative started through Chernyk’s business — an all you can eat Ukrainian buffet — the pair had a hub for its campaign. The items sent over include baby formula, clothes, non-perishable food items, just to name a few.

OPENING THE AUTOMATIC DOORS: UKRAINIANS WELCOME TO MOTEL IN MOOSOMIN

The community isn’t stopping at just donations.

It wants those displaced due to the war to come to Moosomin and find shelter from the war-torn country and is hoping the use of a motel could help its efforts.

Originally from Czechia, Josef Tesar was once in the current shoes of Ukrainians now, back in 1980.

He was forced from his home during the Russian invasion, bouncing from a few European countries before his family settled in Prince Albert.

Fast forward a few decades, Tesar owns the Motel 6 in Moosomin. He said he’s prepared to refurbish a few rooms — out of his own pocket — to create larger suites for the displaced Ukrainians.

“It’s nice to open some great facility, where people can stay and have piece of mind first,” Tesar said.

He isn’t sure when the displaced Ukrainians will be here — if at all — but when they do get to Canada and find safety in Saskatchewan, he wants to at least be an option following the traumas of the war Ukrainians experienced.

All in all, Tesar can house up to 40 families in his hotel, blocking off half of the rooms for Ukrainians.

The community isn’t going to stop at just these initiatives, however. Both McCarthy and Chernyk, along with Tesar, reiterated they will do all it takes to show Ukraine they stand behind them — and they’ll continue to fundraise and plan until the war ends, and peace is found in Ukraine.


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