Shindico president Sandy Shindleman, originally from Portage la Prairie, heard the news of Ukrainian newcomers to the city who were in need of a home and stepped up to the plate.
He notes helping immigrants is something that he learned from his father in Portage la Prairie.
"Sixty years ago, anytime there was a newcomer coming to Portage la Prairie, my father went out of his way to make them comfortable finding them accommodations when we could, and helping them with groceries," says Shindleman. "When the people started to come from Vietnam, my father sent me into Winnipeg to try and find out what products they would want to consume, and we made sure that we got them for them. So, isn't new to us."
Shindleman explains he only has 21 suites in Portage and adds he wishes they had 100 to donate more.
"I think it's important to welcome these people into Portage la Prairie," continues Shindleman. "They're great citizens as we know all refugees and people are. We just want to encourage them with jobs, whatever we can do to help them get started. As I've said, I hope Manitoba could find 100,000 from Ukraine to build lives here and I know Portage la Prairie could take a couple thousand. We need them for employment, and we need them for the market and need them for our institutions. We can't be happier to help and to encourage anybody to do whatever they can."
He says their staff is arranging the furniture and trying to learn the sizes of clothes and ages of children.
"We just want them to be welcome and welcome them to our house," adds Shindleman. "Our store was always a place for immigrants to come to, from everywhere. My father spoke Ukrainian and other languages -- Swedish from buying cattle -- and we learned that we have to take care of the people in our community. And these people have chosen to come to our community. We want to encourage them to invite their relatives and their neighbours to come."
Shindleman adds this is an opportunity for them and it's an opportunity for Portage.
He says his family and many other Portagers have a history of helping all immigrants. Shindleman says explains it's important to keep this issue top of mind and let others know so that word can be spread to see others help out as well.
"Now and in the future, these people are going to need our assistance for some time," says Shindleman.