Ukrainian family arrives in Lindsay

By Mike Puffer

Nataliia and her two sons arrived recently from Ukraine.

Prepare to welcome the newest three residents to Lindsay and Kawartha Lakes — all the way from Ukraine.

A mother and her two sons arrived in Toronto this past week, following a long journey from Munich, Germany. They were greeted by representatives of Lindsay’s St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, who have been working with many others in our community in efforts to provide new homes for Ukrainians displaced by the war with Russia.

A whirlwind few days now sees Nataliia and her boys comfortably settled into their new home, and Vladyslav, 10, and Yaroslav, 7, scheduled to begin school today, Tuesday. Their last names ares being withheld upon request, given the ongoing struggles in their home country.

The effort to support the family is being driven by the Outreach and Missions Ministry team at St. Andrew’s. Dianne Dalton, Marnie Nelles and George Skerratt made the trek to Pearson Airport on Wednesday night.

Following a few hours of chaotic conditions at the airport, and with the help of a Ukrainian man who was also on the flight and who spoke English, Nataliia and her sons connected with the Lindsay trio.

“I jumped out of our van with a large sign that I had made with their names on it, and we had big hugs all around,” Dalton recounts. “We all cried all the way home on Wednesday night. I sat in the back with Vladyslav and took his hand, and he put his head on my shoulder and fell asleep right away. Everyone was exhausted after their experiences.” On Thursday, upon seeing Dalton at the door of their new home, Vladyslav ran to her and gave her a warm embrace and was able to say “I love you” in English.

Their new home for now is with Nelles. She has offered to let the family reside with her in Lindsay. Under the Canada-Ukraine authorization for emergency travel program (CUAET), Ukrainians can stay in Canada as temporary residents for up to three years. They are also eligible for a free open work permit or study permit, allowing them to take a job with a Canadian employer or enrol in an education program in Canada.

Nataliia is determined to establish some independence for her family, Dalton says. “She definitely wants to do her part. She’s extremely grateful for all that everyone is doing, but she would like to get a place of her own for the three of them to live.”

Vladislav, 10, and Yaroslav, 7.

Nataliia and her sons are actually the second family that the St. Andrew’s group had offered to sponsor. In April, arrangements had been made to bring a family here but that couple, their children and the boys’ grandmother were able to secure jobs in Toronto. Local organizers were happy for them, but soon were connected with the new family through the New Canadians Centre in Peterborough.

The past couple of days were busy with administrative procedures and registrations at Service Canada, Service Ontario and Leslie Frost Public School. Nataliia has her driver’s license and the boys have been offered spots to play in the Lindsay Optimist Club’s youth soccer program.

Emotions of everyone involved have been at the point of brimming over with gratitude and an overwhelming sense of the situation brought on by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. For Dalton, the breaking point came on Friday when she took the boys to a local park while their mother and Nelles dealt with paperwork and business.  

“As soon as they were in the park, they were like little boys – running around, laughing, joking with each other, climbing on swings and slides. And I just stood under a tree and had a little cry.”

Dalton is quick to point out that the effort has been the result of countless individuals and groups, within and outside of St. Andrew’s, coming forward to help and offer support. The church has established a special fund to support the family.

Financial contributions may be made towards the costs that will be incurred by Nelles and others. Donations will be receipted by the church for tax purposes. Donations can be made at 40 William St. N., Lindsay K9V 4A1 or e-transfer via E-transfers or cheques should be clearly marked “Ukrainian Outreach.”


  1. Keith says:

    Are you accepting furniture donations for the Ukrainian families

  2. C. Wilson says:

    I have followed the invasion since February 24th, and can attest to the fact that the Russian military are committing monstrous atrocities against the Ukrainian citizens. The sheer volume of destruction, against cities and the peoples of Ukraine, is heartbreaking. 20,000 citizens in one city alone, the Bucha massacre being one of the more well-known, with people killed for no other reason than they were Ukrainian, and by that I mean men, women and children raped, tortured and killed. More than a million Ukrainians (again, men, women and children) deported through so-called ‘filtration camps’ to places like Siberia, The death toll will be huge, the Ukrainians are fighting for their very existence as a people, and paying in blood.

    This is Russia in the 21st century. Ukraine is fighting for our freedom, as well as their own. I hope those Ukrainian families, whose husbands most likely have to stay behind and fight, find happiness in Canada.

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