GUEST COLUMN: Joint effort bringing Ukrainians to Sarnia – with love

Marilyn Gladu

The first of the Ukraine immigrants fleeing their country due to the war have begun to arrive in our community.

Marilyn Gladu

There are many organizations involved in helping out, and the information and situation is changing almost daily. Hopefully this article will contain some information for the many generous individuals in Sarnia-Lambton who are interested to help and be part of a welcoming community.

Most immigrants are arriving under a federal program (CUAET) that gives them an open work permit for three years. The province will provide OHIP, driver’s licences, and emergency financial services. MPP Bob Bailey’s office, Service Ontario, and Ontario Works are all ready to assist as needed.

There are three main streams of immigrants arriving. St. George’s Ukrainian Church in Sarnia has connections in Ukraine, and is paying for airfare and finding host homes within the church community.

Bethel Pentecostal has multiple missions in Ukraine, along with a charity called Loads of Love, which, with help from those on the ground in Ukraine and neighbouring countries, are doing the same.

All other requests to help host a family or individuals are being coordinated through my MP office to assist with the immigration work and coordination with the many service organizations. Many churches (Trinity Anglican, Sovereign Grace) and individuals from our community have also volunteered to host.

There is a vetting process for hosts, including a police check and a memorandum of understanding to clarify what support is being offered and to limit liability.

Additional offers to help with transportation, food, clothing, furnishings and donations are pouring in. If you are interested in participating, please fill out the Ukraine aid survey on my webpage Home – Marilyn Gladu, MP (mpmarilyngladu.ca).

A Save Ukraine—Sarnia and Lambton County | Facebook page has been created to amalgamate all the information from participating organizations who are providing everything from welcome packages to language lessons, to employment matching, training supports, child care and more.

Many Ukrainians are not vaccinated, and there will be quarantine situations. The long process of getting travel documents is not without bumps. But it is really heart-warming to see the outpouring of generosity from our community, and to work together to welcome these people who have suffered so much.

Finally, there will be a Townhall meeting on May 5th from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Bethel Pentecostal Church (1565 London Line), which will be livestreamed as well on my MP Marilyn Gladu Facebook page to provide details about the process and to answer questions from the community.

The video from the livestream will be available on those pages later for those who cannot attend.

Thank you Sarnia-Lambton for helping!

Marilyn Gladu is the Conservative Member of Parliament for Sarnia-Lambton