The first major donation was presented by way of a cheque toward the Ukraine to Portage Fund program that was recently initiated in Portage la Prairie.

The program is to do more than just welcome Ukrainians, but it actually raises funds so that newcomers from the war-torn country can settle and live here. Until this program raises enough funds, Ukrainian newcomers basically have to depend on someone who will allow them to live in their home for a time.

Stride Credit Union CEO Brent Budz shares his business perspective in being able to assist this worthy cause.

"Stride Credit Union is more than happy to donate $1,000 to the fund," notes Budz. "And I know that it's going to go definitely to a good cause and the families in need. We're very happy to help contribute to a much-needed fund here in Portage. It's a monumental effort being put on by, not only Portagers, but Manitobans and Canadians, to really help the people displaced out of Ukrainian."

He adds as Canadians, we live in the best country in the world, and says he feels it's incumbent upon all of us to be able to help where we can.

"It does feel good to help contribute and encourage people to help these people that are completely displaced from their home," continues Budz. "It doesn't take us long to have a little taste of what they're going through by looking at what's going on in the news and in throughout Ukraine. So, we're just very happy to help and encourage people to donate where they can." 

One of the organizers of the Ukraine to Portage Fund Blair Hordeski was ecstatic about the donation.

"We're just overwhelmed with the support of Stride Credit Union here in Portage and promoting the Ukraine to Portage Fund," Says Hordeski. "The fund is set up in order to support the transitioning of displaced Ukrainians to Portage la Prairie. We'd love to hear the Ukrainian language spoken in Portage. We'd love to see more Ukrainian people here, and this is just a wonderful step in such a wonderful direction and greatly, greatly appreciated."

He notes it's one step closer to putting into a position similar to other communities who are able to more fully welcome Ukrainians with open arms. 

"We do have some other things in the works to hopefully promote Portage as a destination for Ukrainians," continues Hordeski. "We want them here. Portage has a little bit of a trickle of Ukrainians coming to Portage most who are connected to the families already here."

Alex Hryntsiv came to Portage a little while ago, and just welcomed his mother to the community. Hryntsiv is one of the organizers in the effort to bring Ukrainians to town. 

"She arrived a couple weeks ago, and I'm happy to have her safe here in Canada," says Hryntsiv. "It took actually a couple of weeks with the paperwork and she had to stay in Europe just to wait until she get all that. We're really glad and I would like to say thank you to Stride Credit Union for their generous donation to support Ukrainians, and also to all people who are taking part of this program and also donate and support this program. Our plan is to help more Ukrainians who are on the way and we need some help. We want to make it happen."

Hryntsiv is also working as president of efforts at the Portage la Prairie Ukrainian Orthodox Church to help work with Ukrainians who come to our community.

"We're doing a lot of support for Ukraine where we make and sell perogies," continues Hryntsiv. "We have a great Ukrainian community who gather on some Saturdays, making perogies and selling perogies and donate that money to Ukraine. To everyone who is taking part in that effort, I would like to really say a big thank you. The Ukrainian community together wants to help. They have work to do, and yet they always find time to come and make perogies to sell and support Ukraine."