By Charlie Senack, Barrhaven Independent
As the war continues to rage on in Ukraine, local initiatives in Barrhaven are trying to make a difference.
On March 26, Barrhaven’s Seventh Day Adventist Church held a relief concert in support of Ukraine, raising over $7,300 which will go to humanitarian aid efforts.
Maurice EL Asmar, who leads the churches compassion-based ‘People Matter Project’, said they have a number of Ukrainian congregation members with family in the war zone.
“There is one family, the individual’s parents, they are in the east of Ukraine,” he said. “They are elderly people, but they want to stay because they want to help; they want to make food for those who are there.”
The relief concert was attended by many in the community who wanted to make a difference.
“We had young and old perform; I think the youngest might have been five years old,” said El Asmar. “We had about 17 performances total and those from Ukraine were dressed in their traditional apparel from back home, and some sang in their native language, which was moving and something special to see. It was a great success and everyone had a wonderful time.”
The war in Ukraine isn’t showing any signs of stopping with Russia continuing to ramp up their attacks. Bombings continue to rock the lives of Ukrainian residents, killing hundreds, maybe thousands. Russian President Vladimir Putin says he won’t back down, but the Ukrainian army remains steadfast in the fight.
World War II underground bunkers, which were never supposed to be used again have reopened, to offer refuge from the middle launches and sounds of gunfire. Millions of Ukraines have fled to neighbouring countries including Poland and Hungary, but others are seeking refuge in places like Canada.
El Asmar says anywhere between 15 and 20 families from their Ukrainian congregation members will be fleeing to Canada, and they will be there to support them.
“We are talking with them right now to see how best we can help them,” he said. “There is the obvious cost of flying him here, and then there are plenty of other costs once they get here.”\
A Sign Of Support
Just down the road from the church on Strandherd at Greenbank, a sign with the Ukrainian Flag has been placed reading: #StandWithUkraine. It also includes notices on how to donate directly to organizations helping with aid efforts in Ukraine.
Darrell Bartraw, President of the West Barrhaven Community Association, who also runs Canada Day in Barrhaven, said he wanted to show support to the local Ukrainian Community.
“Having a 90-year-old Mother in Law whose father immigrated from the Ukraine at age 10, and watching the devastation of that great country, I felt I had to do something for all the people of Barrhaven that may have immigrated here aor have family or friends that still remain in Ukraine,” he said. “I hope it will be a place where people from all walks of life can gather and perhaps lay flowers or make a donation to one of the organizations posted on the sign.”
The blue and yellow Ukrainian flag has become a common symbol in Barrhaven, seen in the windows of homes, and in cars in the marketplace parking lot.
Dymon Storage on Strandherd has also lit up their windows in the colours of Ukraine to show solidarity.