Grassroots group gauges support to host Ukrainians in Lambton’s rural areas

© Can Stock Photo / MErmolenko

Another meeting is being planned to determine how many Sarnia-Lambton residents are willing to help Ukrainian refugees once they arrive in Canada.

The information meeting is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, May 25 in Wyoming. The meeting follows a previous town hall held in Sarnia during the first week of May.

Carla Rankin said there has been interest in hosting Ukrainian families outside of the City of Sarnia but there are some logistical challenges to consider for rural residents, such as transportation.

“Do we have the resources to say ‘so and so is going to drive you today and so and so is going to drive you tomorrow.’ It can’t all fall on the host family because that would just be way too much,” she said.

Rankin said so far there are seven potential host families signed up in Petrolia, two in Wyoming, and one in Corunna. However, there are other opportunities to help aside from being a host family.

Residents willing to babysit children and drive newcomers to and from appointments are needed.

“There’s a lot of people who say ‘oh, I’ll help out’ but when push comes to shove, is the available help there? So we kind of need commitments from people.”

Rankin said while some refugees have already arrived, more are expected later this summer.

If it is feasible to host Ukrainian families in areas like Petrolia and Wyoming, Rankin said a social media group will be created to offer a sense of community among refugees.

“Anything to kind of have a connection with their own countrymen,” she said.

Wednesday’s information meeting will be held at Peoples Church on London Line at 6:30 p.m.