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Ukrainian Newcomer Furniture Warehouse closes permanently after 2 years of operations

After more than two years of supporting refugees, the Ukrainian Newcomer Furniture Warehouse will shut its doors for good on Sunday.

It’s been an essential stop for thousands of Ukrainians fleeing the conflict abroad and settling here in Edmonton.

“Never in my wildest dreams that I’d imagine that we would actually be operating this warehouse,” Ukrainian Canadian Congress Alberta Chapter President Orysia Boychuk told Global News.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Alberta welcomed nearly 60,000 Ukrainian refugees. Although some have gone back, roughly 20,000 people remain in Edmonton.

“The Ukrainians now coming have decreased,” Maryann Psyzcz, manager of the warehouse told Global News.

“Less and less are coming to the airport. We never thought we’d be open for two years so the fact that it was that long — we’re the only one that’s still open in Canada,” she explained.

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The organization has relied on donations from the community to welcome new arrivals.

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With thousands of Ukrainians leaving most of their belongings abroad, they relied on the furniture, appliances, and other household items to live in Edmonton.

“That has allowed them to not have to worry about extra finances on their initial days of arrival,” Boychuk said.

“There’s been extraordinary humanitarian good will that has come forward in the two years,” she added.

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The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Lodge 146 loaned their training facility space for the congress to use.

According to the organization, it took more than 25,000 volunteer hours to operate, collect and disperse more than $8 million worth of furniture.

“We actually did the job that we set out to do. We helped over 16,000 homes to be furnished,” Boychuk said.

“That need has been filled. That goal has been achieved.”

Boychuk said the closure brings mixed emotions. She’s pleased to know household support is no longer needed, but will miss the community built around the warehouse.

“It is an emotional day because that piece, that community that was formed here is coming to an end,” she explained.

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Habitat for Humanity will pick up the remaining items after Sunday’s closure.

Click to play video: 'Alberta man returns from Ukraine, converts Russian weapons into money for drones'

Alberta man returns from Ukraine, converts Russian weapons into money for drones

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