Canadians raising money for Ukraine, opening their homes to refugees

As thousands of Ukrainian refugees flee to Poland and other neighboring countries, Canadian families are opening their doors as well.

Carla and James Rankin from Petrolia, Ont. are opening up their home after seeing the devastation in Ukraine.

“If we get a mom that has been displaced with perhaps a couple of small children, we can make this into a bedroom for two children,” Carla said, gesturing to a smaller room in their home.

Their daughter, who has now moved out of the home, has visited Ukraine before with their church, and the family is hoping to help in any way they can.

“My wife immigrated to Canada, we have lots of friends who immigrated to Canada,” James said. “And we thought: ‘You know, this is a chance for us to help.’”

The Canadian government will allow fleeing Ukrainians to stay in Canada for up to three years, and it is considering providing incentives for those willing to take in Ukrainian refugees.

“Everything is on the table right now,” Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, said in CTV’s Question Period on Sunday. “We’re looking at different options right now to capitalize on the extraordinary goodwill of Canadians.”

That goodwill is being shown in other ways across the country as well.

In Nova Scotia, Steve Melnick organized the “Rocking for Ukraine” show, a charity event that has already surpassed its original $5,000 goal.

“I thought: ‘Well, you know, I might make 10.’ I just made 10 today, so I’m up over, I think I’m probably going to be hitting close to $20,000.”

A pastor from Sarnia, Ont. who led multiple church missions to Ukraine over the past decade is now helping more Ukrainian families come to Canada.

“I’ve been to Ukraine about a dozen times,” Tim Gibb told CTV News. Two of his grandparents were also born in Ukraine, giving him a personal connection.

Now, he’s coordinating with members of parliament as well as a Christian charity to help bring over some refugees.

“Right now, I got about 16, eight adults and eight children that are beginning the process of application, they’re still in Ukraine,” Gibb said.

He added that 22 households from his church congregation have said they are ready to house Ukrainian refugees.

However, some volunteers are calling for governments to do more.

“It’s not a sprint,” said Nathan Cullen, British Columbia’s municipal affairs minister. “This is a marathon. This will take some time and we’re going to have to keep coming back to it together.”

Ottawa says its working to find new ways to get more Ukrainian refugees into the country. So far, more than 9,000 have arrived in Canada since late January.

With files from CTVNews.ca’s Alexandra Mae Jones

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