April 19, 2022 Message to the Membership

Posted on April 19, 2022 in

April 19, 2022 Message to the Membership

Those that know me well, and as mentioned in a previous message in this space, I married into the Ukrainian mafia (not literally, but kinda). So it’s really not that hard to imagine where my allegiance lies when looking at the war in Ukraine. And I think most others (perhaps not all, but I would have to say a vast majority of the vast majority) offer their support or sympathy for Ukraine as well. 

Whether it be on traditional or social media, it seems there is a common thread of well wishes for those who are suffering there. This is likely the case because of the high number of Saskatchewan people who identify themselves as having Ukrainian heritage (13% of our population).  

This makes Ukraine currently the sixth-largest source of immigrants to the province. And it’s not limited to ancient history, In fact between 2007 and 2019, over 4,356 new permanent residents from Ukraine landed in Saskatchewan. 

Canada was the first western country to recognize Ukraine as an independent country in late 1991, in the post-Soviet Union environment. As an aside, if you really want to raise the hackles of a Ukrainian, call their homeland THE Ukraine. Actually, don’t. You might get smacked upside the head with someone’s purse or a bag of frozen perogies. (And if you get an option, take the purse, every time.) 

Since its independence from the former U.S.S.R., Ukraine quickly and irrevocably denounced the word THE in front of its nation’s name. Doing so implies it is a region within another country’s land, ie: the north, the woodlands, the foothills, etc. Ukraine has sovereignty and rights that it has earned, and more importantly and astonishingly, is fighting for today. 

Which brings me to the point of this week’s message. You’ll see in our weekly eblast that we are promoting an event, Unite For Ukraine, which we are proudly supporting. It is a fundraising event for Saskatoon’s sister city, Chernivtsi, located in western Ukraine. (It’s one of just three sister cities of Saskatoon.)  

Chernivtsi is a city much like Saskatoon, with a population of 260,000. Except that over recent weeks, since Russia’s invasion to be exact, eastern Ukrainians have fled to the west, and Chernivtsi is said to be trying to accommodate as many as 150,000 refugees. 

Could you imagine? Oftentimes it feels like we have people virtually hanging from the rafters when we (ie: the Province, Red Cross or whomever) accommodates a few hundred forest fire or flood victims in Saskatoon at certain times of the year. Multiply that by an order of magnitude.  

Things that Chernivtsi needs include the very basics: food, shelter and medical aid. Over and above that, other items that are required are things like diesel generators, firefighting gear, radios, large capacity tents, sleeping bags and lifesaving equipment. 

The fundraiser is in the form of a luncheon, which came to be after Chernivtsi’s mayor sent a letter to Mayor Charlie Clark, and Chernivtsi’s first responders reached out to the Saskatoon fire fighters and the local chapter (IAFF Local 80) responded in very short order, as they always do. 

With the help of friends such as TCU Place, who’s providing a top-notch meal for the luncheon fundraiser, Tourism Saskatoon, a heavy presence of business organizations across the city, and Ukrainian organizations such as the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, and led by a volunteer group consisting of the who’s who of the Ukrainian descendants of Saskatoon, this luncheon is destined for greatness. 

All it needs is you. And your friends and family. And them, and their friends and family. 

The event is taking place on Wednesday, May 4 at 11:30 am. If you can’t go, but would like to make a donation, you can do so by visiting the event’s webpage at: 

HOME | Uniteforukraine 

I haven’t heard of any donation goals for the event, except to hear that we want to help our sister city out as much as we can. If we were in their shoes, and thank goodness we’re not, we would want as much help as we could get too.  

Until next time, be safe, be smart, be considerate, be well, but most of all, be kind. 

Keith Moen 

Executive Director 


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