(CARLI BERRY / iNFOnews.ca)
March 12, 2022 - 6:00 PM
More than 100 people lined up outside a Ukrainian church this afternoon, including a Kelowna woman looking to support Ukraine through humanitarian aid.
The line was so long at the Ukrainian Catholic Church for its fundraiser to provide Ukraine with medical supplies that it stretched around the building and down the sidewalk. Russia invaded the country last month, causing more than a million people to flee.
Bonnie Penner said volunteers will be travelling to Ukraine and assisting in humanitarian efforts. She also donated to the church Saturday afternoon, March 12.
She’s collecting donations collecting donations to provide the volunteers with supplies and to cover their plane tickets.
"It was the right thing to do. I had to find a way to help," Penner said.
Donations are being collected through her website and she will also be giving donations to Ukrainian groups in town like the church.
Lilia Soltysmykhnevych and Uliana Kotsur are both members of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and are both originally from Ukraine and their families are still there.
“If we have to help someone, we want to do it right away,” Kotsur said. They were surprised to see the long line of people waiting outside to buy Ukrainian food, since the event was only shared in a few Facebook posts.
A Kelowna nurse was also helping gather medical supplies with the church.
Maria Melnyk is a first-generation Canadian whose family immigrated from Ukraine. As a nurse with a strong understanding of Ukraine she’s been coordinating the collection of medical supplies from various businesses in Kelowna.
“I can’t comprehend why this is happening, it’s not right. I’m grateful that I can help but the amount of guilt that I feel and I’m not even there. I can’t sleep, I can’t sit still. I just want to go and be there and I want to help,” she said.
A rally for Ukraine is also being held tomorrow outside of City Hall at 2 p.m.