A new group, the Ukrainian-Canadian Association of the Yukon (UCAY), has been formed in Whitehorse.
The group held its first founding meeting on Jan. 12 to become an operating non-profit society in the Yukon, according to Jeff Sloychuk, president of the association.
Former premier Tony Penikett currently serves as the acting chair of the association. During the founding meeting, nine directors were elected with five executive officers selected to lead the association.
Sloychuk says UCAY has three objectives of “supporting Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion, providing relief support to those in Ukraine fighting the invasion and raising awareness of Ukrainian culture, food and people.”
The immediate goal of the group is to deliver the relief supplies that have been donated by Yukoners since the fall of 2022, Sloychuk says.
The Yukon hosts a small but growing Ukrainian community of about 100, Sloychuk says. More than 40 Ukrainians have arrived since March 2022 after Russia invaded Ukraine. A direct flight between Whitehorse and Frankfurt over the summer made it easier for Ukrainians fleeing the war to arrive in the territory.
Sloychuk says new arrivals have been supported by volunteers helping to secure accommodation, food vouchers, basic translation services and work opportunities.
The new association, which has been operating informally since the invasion, now seeks to collaborate with other Ukrainian groups and communities across Canada to support victims of the war.
“Our local Ukrainian community and our allies have been doing the support work since the latest invasion began,” he said. “This new society allows us to formalize our processes and procedures and expand our organizing efforts, both locally and globally, to an even greater capacity than before.”
On Jan. 23, Sloychuk and members of his team will be flying from Whitehorse to Ukraine to deliver donated supplies. Some of the supplies include warm clothes, underwear, radio sets, blankets, laptops, iPhones, android devices and tablets.
But with winter arriving in Ukraine and Russian missile strikes targeting Ukraine’s power grid and leaving millions in darkness, Sloychuk says more needs to be done.
“We are still collecting donations through Whitehorse Firefighters Charity,” he said. “We need power storage units to help Ukrainian families light up their homes and keep warm during the freezing cold winter.”
Sloychuk said Yukoners can continue to donate through the Whitehorse Firefighters Charity.
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