While approximately 300 Ukrainians fleeing the violence in eastern Europe have started the process of settling in the Lethbridge area, officials with the non-profit Project Sunflower are hopeful the community will continue to open its doors to those who need it most.
Project Sunflower Media Liason Devon Hargreaves says the drive to try and help as many people as they could began during a solidarity rally at the onset of the war in Ukraine. However, he adds with a fluid situation on the ground, they’ve had to continually switch focus on what the most pressing needs were for refugees.
“Initially, it started out with the focus of driving aid to Ukraine through many of the other wonderful organizations, but as time progressed, we realized we had to take a step back and reevaluate,” he says.
“That wonderful group came together, sat down at a kitchen table, and thought, how can we help and from that Project Sunflower was born. We have a board of dedicated people willing to dedicate their time to come together and see what we can do to help the people of Ukraine.”
Hargreaves says with so many people from Ukraine contacting the organization, and looking to come to Canada, it made the shift to focus on assisting people with completing their visas and locating places that people can stay once people arrive in Canada the most natural. He says they don’t have a hard limit of how many people they’re looking to relocate, as in the end it is tied to how many volunteers they can bring into the fold.
“The Lethbridge community has always been amazing at opening their hearts and coming together as a community, I’d expect nothing less, and I’m very proud we were not let down.”
You can learn more about Project Sunflower on the not-for-profit’s website.