Politicians in Oliver showed overwhelming support on Monday, Feb. 13, towards a newly-formed volunteer group that helps displaced families from Ukraine settle in the South Okanagan.
Council approved a $2,500 grant-in-aid from the Ukraine Nightingale Project, in an effort to support new arrivals in Oliver and organize a pair of upcoming Ukraine-related fundraisers.
“I’ve met a couple of the new residents (from Ukraine), one even working at the Home Hardware in Osoyoos,” said Coun. Terry Schafer. “I welcome them here.”
Greg Thorp, the co-chairperson for the Ukraine Nightingale Project, told council Monday the group will be hosting two upcoming fundraisers to help with the cause, including one at Penticton’s Cleland Theatre on Feb. 25.
At least six displaced Ukrainian families have recently made Oliver their new home, he added.
Helping families learn English, set up bank accounts and enroll in schools are among the services the Ukraine Nightingale Project hopes to offer.
Thorp adds that future funds will also help with transportation costs to Kelowna for families’ medical needs.
The Ukraine Nightingale Project started in October 2022 and currently has 10 volunteers.
“It’s been very difficult for them,” he said. “Their homes have been destroyed, their towns have been destroyed, and the infrastructure they had is lost including schools.”
The $2,500 provided by council will come out of the town’s preliminary 2023 grant-in-aid budget, which is estimated to be approximately $20,000.