Some retail space donated to a local organization to help Ukrainian refugees is now open in Halifax.

Newcomers can shop for whatever they need to fill their homes – for free.

The Ukraine Store opened on Tuesday to limited hours, and in those two days they’ve already helped 11 families find items they need for their new homes.

“We are looking for some furniture for our apartment,” says Daria Herashchenko.

The teenager’s family moved to Halifax five weeks ago after fleeing the Russian led war in Ukraine.

They, like the others, came to Canada with very few belongings.

“Well imagine coming with what you can carry in a suitcase and you’re starting from scratch,” says store volunteer Greer Kelley.

Despite a seemingly sufficient supply, there is an immediate need for some items, mainly small appliances.

“We desperately need hairdryers, coffee makers, toaster ovens, teapots, toasters,” Kelley says.

Another thing needed are host families.

“We need Nova Scotians to open up their homes to help people who are coming from this terrible situation in Ukraine and they need places to stay,” says Rick Langille, a volunteer with Atlantic Canadian Hosts for Ukraine.

Host families are typically only needed to bridge the gap until refugees can find a place of their own.

Some are finding, once they get settled, that life in Halifax is comparable to what they had in Ukraine.

Rent and other everyday prices are comparable but the salary Yuliia Lokutovska’s husband makes as a truck driver is double what he’d make in Kharkiv.

Which, they say, is one of the reasons they’re happy to have chosen Halifax as their new home.

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