Six Ukrainian refugees have made their way to Kenora thanks to the generosity of the community and the work of a few volunteers.

The Kenora Supports Ukraine Coalition was created in early April by Peter Kirby and Nathan Moncrief to help Ukrainian families looking to flee Russia’s invasion of their home country, which will soon enter its seventh month, and the coalition has grown to 11 members who meet weekly to help out.

They say now, after just shy of five months of fundraising, KSU has passed its initial $75,000 target and the funds are being used to help six refugees settle into their new homes.

Olena Holovachuk and her kids Tolik and Kamila are now living with Kenora’s Bracken family, as the two twins get ready for high school in September.

''From left to right: Ken Bracken, Tolik & Kamila Holovachuk, Brady Bracken, Olena Holovachuk, and Laurie Bracken – upon arrival at the Bracken’s residence.

KSU volunteers were helping to support the family’s journey to Canada financially, and got an assist from Kenora MP Eric Melillo who helped to push their immigration file forward with the federal government. Their father, Tolik Sr., was sent to fight in eastern Ukraine.

The coalition had previously brought Nadiia Politychka to the Moncrief household in June, who has been helping the coalition has a translator. KSU has also brought in Iryna Futuluichuk, hosted by Barry and Wendy Marmus.

''Newcomer Iryna Futuluichuk with her comforter made by the Kenora quilters “Hearts of Knox”. The group has generously made these for all KSU recipients.

Elsewhere, Mariia Plutka is living with Ed and Marilyn Zroback. She has a full-time role with Copperfin Credit Union, and is awaiting the arrival of her mother and younger sister to Kenora.

''Marilyn Zroback (host) with Mariia Plutka (newcomer) at the Standard Charity BBQ in support of KSU.

As well as helping bring Ukrainians to Kenora, KSU, Joel McGrath and the Kenora Multicultural Association has been providing English as a Second Language education to every refugee.

KSU is taking the time to thank the community for their outpouring of support and generosity, which includes individuals, businesses, service providers and more. They also took time to thank The Standard, which recently raised $4,000 through a fundraising barbecue, donations and t-shirt sales.

''From left to right: KSU Members Darlene Hiebert, Olena Moncrief, Joel McGrath, Nathan Moncrief, Matthew Schottroff (The Standard), and Peter Kirby. The Standard raised over $4,000 through its annual charity BBQ.

Coming up, the St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church is putting on its annual church supper on September 16, where residents can enjoy a traditional Ukrainian meal, meet newcomers and help fundraise for KSU. Tickets are $25. Those interested are asked to contact Ami (407-0397); Nick (468-7634); Elsie (468-6636); or Jim (407-5565).

Other ways to give include online at and selecting Kenora Supports Ukraine, by cheques to St. Alban’s Cathedral with Kenora Supports Ukraine in the memo line which can be dropped off at the church, and through the Lake of the Woods Community Foundation.

If anyone is interested in contacting the KSU and wants to join to help out in any way, they are asked to contact the coalition at