Ukrainian refugee Oksana Makarenka watches closely as her 16-year-old daughter sings a Ukrainian song for the residents at Hazeldean Gardens Retirement Residence.
“Very happy, because it’s our new home for me and my daughters,” Makarenka said.
Lidiia Neofita also arrived from Ukraine a few months ago. Both work at the retirement home and are staying with a host family in Ottawa, but soon they will be moving into their own apartment with next to nothing.
To help, Hazeldean Gardens organized a community barbecue and are selling house plants. They are also providing items to furnish their new homes.
“We’ve offered to provide the furniture from our model suites, of course, they’ll be needing other things,” said Murray Jackson, co-owner of Hazeldean Gardens.
While both women have found some comfort here with new friends and the Stittsville community, the safety of their loved ones and of their home country are still top of mind.
Lidiia Neofita’s son and husband are still in Ukraine fighting on the front lines. Makarenka’s husband is also there.
“It’s hard in my country… very afraid for my husband, my parents, my cousins and friends in Ukraine,” said Makarenka.
Jackson says they’ll be accepting in-person donations and will match the cash donations received by Friday, Oct. 14.
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