Town hall meeting to help organize for the arrival of more Ukrainians

Vigil at St. George's Ukrainian Catholic Church, Sunday Feb 27, 2022. Blackburn Media photo by Stephanie Chaves.

A town hall meeting is scheduled Thursday morning in Sarnia to help organizers plan for the arrival of more Ukrainians to Sarnia-Lambton.

Family Doctor Cassandra Taylor said anyone interested in hosting families, offering job opportunities or other kinds of assistance is urged to attend.

“Bethel Church has had at least one Ukrainian lady that’s come in already, a painter, and then we have another family that just arrived last week and then we will have another family, she’s expecting, they will be arriving May 9,” said Taylor.

She said some families have been delayed.

“It’s a slow trickle in, simply because of the issues with getting visas approved and passports over in Europe. Once those are taken care of, then we are working with different services to help get them here.”

Taylor expects more Ukrainians will start to arrive through the summer.

“I think right now, in general, there’s about 20 to 25 families that are committed to coming to Sarnia. That’s between couples, mothers and children — I know we have a family coming that’s a mother and her children, the husband stayed back to fight the war — others are full families coming as well.”

Those willing to host a family are being asked to commit to a minimum of six to 12 months.

“We need time for them to get here and learn English, get a better understanding of how things work here, as well as focus on their mental health,” she said. “We’re learning every day what we need to be able to do to provide for them to make sure that they’re taken care of from all aspects.”

Taylor said the individuals coming here want to be self-sufficient eventually.

“That’s the one thing that Ukrainian families want to make sure, that if they come here they can get a job and start to provide for their own families and not feel like they’re dependent on people here in Sarnia for what they need.”

Taylor said hosts will also be supported financially and through city services.

“Don’t feel like if you’re going to be hosting you’re going to be held responsible to take care of these families and everything that’s needed. That’s what this town hall is about, to meet the community members that are helping with that as well.”

The town hall is being held at Bethel Pentecostal Church, on London Line, at 10 a.m.

More information about the families and how to get involved is posted on the Save Ukraine – Sarnia and Lambton County Facebook page.

The Facebook page also has information to make donations, including requests for particular items an individual or family needs when they get here.