Help Bring Ukrainian Refugees to Atikokan

Campaign Created by: Aniela Hannaford

The funds from this campaign will be received by Aniela Hannaford.

Goal: CAD $25,000
Raised: CAD $ 9,834
Dear Family and Friends and the greater Atikokan Community,

Brian & I, together with our children, their Grandparents, Rod and Carrol, our staff and community members, are trying to help Displaced Ukrainian families out of refugee camps.

Currently, we have three families that we have offered employment to. One, in Austria; One in Belgium and one in Greece. At this time, 2 families have visa and their travel documents, we have travel arrangements organized for the family in Greece and are currently waiting for more airline information from the family in Austria.  The family in Belgium is still waiting for their visas.  

The plan is for us to provide employment and all the necessities for the summer here at camp for these three families so that they can save some money and regroup while they plan their next steps.  After great conversation,  we have decided to expand our goal to help more families. Whereas we may not be able to provide immediate employment for other families,  we desperately want to provide a safe and softer place for them to land- allow their children a chance to be kids, give them some hope and show them, love. 

According to the Ukrainians that we have spoken to, along with all of the organizations and MPs that we have reached out to over the past 37 days, there is almost no help from our government to try to evacuate families from refugee camps. It is not like other conflicts where we've seen our government send planes over to gather as many people as possible and have an action plan on how to settle everyone. No settlement plan exists or has been announced other than the promise of making it easy to obtain visas and other necessary documents. The rest has been left up to the displaced, and it's by God's grace, volunteers, and people chaining grassroots support together that people are getting out. Imagine leaving everything behind, not having a home to go back to, and figuring out your next steps to protect your family and secure their safety from a roadside camp. That is something that I hope none of us ever experience, and I believe that it iour duty as family and friends, to help lessen the bruden and relieve some stress even if only for a few. 

Here's why we are asking for help and have such a large goal: 

We are fortunate to have a facility here at camp that can house 28 people with potential for more, as well as dedicated and caring staff on site 24/7.  As mentioned earlier, we would like to be able to provide a soft place for people to land, regroup and plan their next steps.  We have volunters from the community in many different professions such as mental health specialists, spiritual leaders, medical professionals and early childhood learning professionslas to name name a few, ready and willing to help. 

We understand from contacts in Southern Ontario as well as through various social media groups dedicated to matching hosts with diplaced famillies that many  Ukrainians are arriving in our major cities with no support, access to immediate jobs or housing or even a basic understanding of French or English in a bid to escape the Russian Occupation.  

As a result, we feel called to help in any way we can and are dedicated to this humanitarian cause as long as we can financially support it.  

Therefore, to help sustain the efforts of all our volunteers and to assist as many Displaced Ukrainians as possible, we are asking for donations to help support the following:

1. Airfare/transportation
2. Clothing and;
3. Food

Again, our goal is to provide a soft place for as many as possible  to land, regroup and  plan their next steps with intention and a clear mind.  Once they have a plan and are able to move on, we would like to continue the process and bring additional families over to continue the cycle. Therfore, the more we are able to raise, the more children we are able to help! 

Any donation provided is greatly appreciated.  

Thank you & Much Love,

Brian, Anya,  Family, Staff & Volunteers! 


UPDATES

Update #1
April 5, 2022
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Good Morning Everyone! 


I want to first, say thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all your support.  Our family has been overwhelmed with offers of donations of all kinds including many hands!  We are blessed to have such a loving and caring community and we thank you all for being a part of it! 

Secondly, we are in the final stages of planning airfare from Vienna to Toronto, then to Thunder Bay for our first family.  We hope to have them settled into their new home by the weekend!  This is truly amazing since things only have just ramped early last week!  

We have spoken to all our families and they all seem very excited.  Whereas this is a very scary transition for them, we are consistanly messaging words of encouragement, hope and support to that that are being sent to us by you!  At times, they are overwhelmed that they have been fortunate to connect with such an amazing group of people!  So please, keep sending those messages and I will keep passing them on!  You are all amazing and we couldn't see our dream come together without you!  

Having said that, these are just the first three families!  We are continually seeing stories of Ukrainians being taken advantage of in their quest to find a peaceful place to rest and start over (even if only for the time being).  That said, Brian, I and our family are committed to helping as long as we can to make this initiative successful. Having said that, we will need as many donations as possible.  At this time, we expect our biggest cost to be that of transportation.  We then have to have funds to help feed everyone and help cover some basic living costs.  We will donate whatever we can, but in the end, we will need lots of community support.  

I know there have been questions about how we will be supporting families when they arrive.  We have been in contact with a number of agencies in town and also in the greater Northwestern Ontario community and we have things like ESL (I am also a certified TESL instructor) support coming from the Adult Learning Centre, early childhood educators supporting us with resources for the children, mental health practitioners on standby, spiritual leaders ready to support and come and visit us and lead worship services, medical professionals waiting in the wings to come and build relationships with everyone and we are even trying to organize an in-person meeting with our local MPP, Judith Monteith-Farrell to help us petition the Ontario Government to provide immediate healthcare to all displaced Ukrainians landing in Ontario....the list goes on! 

Like we said earlier, Rodney and I have been working on developing a plan and mapping it out since the first shell hit the ground and we are determined to make the best of what we have to offer as well as all the resources that we, as a community can pool together!  

Please, share this post again, personally reach out to one or two family members about donating or talk to a friend about checking around their house for something we might be able to use!  As a community, we have great wealth and resources to share with those that are needing a hand.  Let's make this amazing for everyone involved! 


Much Love, 

Anya (Aniela)

xoxo

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