The community members of five different North Vancouver churches gathered together in solidarity with each other and the people of Ukraine Sunday (May 1).
They listened on as a member of the Maple Hope Foundation, a volunteer-run non-profit dedicated to supporting Ukraine, described an average day in the life of someone who has family back in the war-torn country.
“We wake up every morning, and the first thing we do is check our phones. We call our loved ones and ask if they’re still alive. Do they have food? Were they able to escape? Are the children okay?
“Then we read the news and check on Zelenskyy and make sure he is still okay, and then we go on about our day,” Kristina Lebed said.
North Vancouver councillor Jordan Back also spoke at the gathering. He said when he looks at his own two young children he can’t help thinking about those who have lost their lives or had them changed forever in both Ukraine and Russia.
“I also think about the dreadful images and feelings that these children would have experienced and will carry with them for the rest of their lives,” he said.
Throughout the event, four large candles placed throughout the space were lit, and at the end community members were invited to use them to light their own smaller candles and offer up a thought to those impacted by the war.
Some also directed their wishes through a communal chalk board, writing things like “Mariupol,” “children,” and “strength for those in Russia to say no more.”
Lebed said her wish is that everyone continues to speak out, wear a ribbon and show their support for her home country.
“The worst thing is for us to be forgotten. The worst thing is for the world to move on. We cannot until this is over,” she said.
More information about The Maple Hope Foundation and ways to help can be found at maplehopefoundation.org.