Friday, May 27 2022

A Kingston-area couple is opening their hearts and wallets to help a refugee family from Ukraine.

They’re going to be private sponsors for a family of four which is currently in Germany waiting for visas.

After cutting through some red tape in Europe, a South Frontenac, Ont., farm house is where a displaced Ukrainian family will eventually rest their heads after escaping the invasion of their home country.

“We know that there’s a financial risk, there’s an emotional risk, we’re responsible for the well-being of this family, but life is full of risk. Look at what’s happening to the people in Ukraine. They have to face it, the least we can do is help them in any way that we can,” said Stella Hiemstra who is sponsoring the family along with her husband Marc.

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The Hiemstras are letting the Ukrainian family of four stay in a South Frontenac farm house that is usually used by farm hands and volunteers who work at Loughborough Heritage Orchard, an operation owned and run by the Hiemstras.

“I’ve seen where people are suffering, and it really grabs at my heart, so to be able to do anything, it’s good,” said Marc Hiemstra.

Stella Hiemstra says they feel a responsibility to help however they can.

“My parents were immigrants after the Second World War, going to Estevan, Sask., in their late 20s,” said Stella Hiemstra.

“During the war in Holland my family suffered greatly, people assisted them. So even though here we are, decades later I feel it’s our turn.”

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The Hiemstras are readying the house for the displaced Ukrainian family with the help of their former neighbour, Judy Ward.

“We’ve had people donate single beds, we’ve had a friend across the street, a retired teacher, she gave us a whole shopping bag of school supplies,” said Ward.

“One of the neighbours out there, Nana Mariotti she’s donated $500 worth of gift cards from different stores for them. People have been so generous.”

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Even though the Hiemstras are the Ukrainian family’s official sponsor Stella says when the family of four arrives, they’ll be well looked after.

“We’re not worried at all about being able to provide for them because we know the community is behind this type of effort,” Stella said.

“So even though we’re the ones that said we’ll do it, we don’t feel we’re doing it all alone, there’s help behind us.”


© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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