The Prince George Community Foundation is hosting a night of food, music and entertainment to help bring Ukrainian families fleeing the ravages of war to the city.
PG Live! For Ukraine, presented by Canadian Tire, will take place at the Coast Inn of the North on May 7. The evening will include dinner, music, performances by the Method Dance Society, silent auction, guest speakers and a chance to get dressed up. All the money raised will benefit the foundation’s newly-created Ukraine Humanitarian Support Fund, foundation director of development Mindy Stroet said.
“All donations, up to $10,000, will be matched (by the foundation),” Stroet said. “We’re looking forward to the community coming together to show that sense of spirit. Being part of a community is so much more than living in the same area.”
The foundation is hoping to raise $20,000 to $30,000, but the more money that is raised “the more support we can offer for the individuals and families who are coming to our community,” Stroet said.
The fund will directly benefit the local Share Hope Refugee Sponsorship Committee’s efforts to settle Ukrainian families in Prince George. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that more than four million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded in February, with most currently in neighbouring Poland and Moldova.
Share Hope committee chairperson Eva Gillis said the first Ukrainian family they are working with is “arriving imminently.”
“Right now the ones that are coming are able to get here themselves. They have family here,” Gillis said.
The committee also hopes to help families who don’t have the means or family connections to get here on their own, she said. But that depends on the federal government expediting entry visas and humanitarian flights to bring families to Canada.
The committee has a lawyer drafting application forms for families to apply to come to Prince George right now, she said.
“Our intention is helping them once they arrive in Prince George,” Gillis said.
Currently the committee has enough funds to help support two families get settled in the city. The committee, which worked with Syrian refugees previously, helps family with groceries, transportation, accommodation and other needs until they are able to support themselves.
In addition, they work with other community organizations to help the families become independent, she said. For example, the committee is working with the Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society of Prince George to provide English as a Second Language training.
“It takes anywhere from $35,000 to $40,000 for a whole year,” Gillis said. “Right now, we can bring two (families.). Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could have five? We’d like to bring 20, if we can.”
Tickets for PG Live! For Ukraine are $100 each, or $700 for a table of eight. Tickets are on sale now.
Donations can also be made directly to the Ukraine Humanitarian Support Fund by going online to the foundation’s website.