The following is a message from Salt Spring Island resident Igor Darmokhid, who is from Ukraine and is spearheading a local response to the war in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24. The next organized public gathering is near the Cenotaph in Centennial Park on Sunday, March 6 at 12:30 p.m.
Dear Friends of Salt Spring Island:
I know each of you as people with a kind and sincere heart and an open soul.
I have been living and working with you side by side for three years. During the difficult time of the pandemic, I worked on the front line at the Thrifty Foods grocery store, for 8 hours a day. Then we were all in the same boat and I understood that. Now the whole world is in one boat, and Russia is trying hard to sink this boat, a boat of truth, freedom and democracy. The aggressor takes the lives not only of our defenders, but also of women and children.
Across Canada, citizens, through organizations, are supporting Ukraine by collecting and sending much needed supplies of medicines, children’s clothing, donations of goods and donations to the Red Cross.
Now I want to ask each of you for help for my country and my people.
1. We plan to organize the collection of medicines and then send them to Ukraine (when the planes will fly). We will be asking shops and pharmacies for their support. Bandages, plasters, over-the-counter medications are needed. If you can help with the organization of this, welcome.
2. We plan to organize a collection of clothes for children who have been affected or are currently temporarily relocated to other regions. We are speaking to the thrift shops, Transitions and Lady Minto as possible collection sites. If there is anyone who can help with the organizing of this, welcome.
3. I will sell all my drawings and send 100% of the funds from them to Ukraine as aid. I also ask people from the arts (artists, carvers, weavers and those who work with ceramics) to donate one of their products, sell it and send the money to help in Ukraine. Maybe you can do such a one-time action in the gallery before the sale and someone can help with the organization, it is welcome. We will also try to sell the things you donate to other establishments (shops, galleries, online groups).
4. I also want to ask local banks to create a special account so that people can quickly transfer funds to the Red Cross with the note “Help Ukraine.”
5. We also plan to hold other fundraising campaigns for both the defenders of Ukraine and the civilian population.
6. I appeal to those who have friends or relatives in Russia. Call your family and friends and ask them to join the protesters in Russia who want a stop to the war. Words of sympathy do not help. Action is needed.
7. firstname.lastname@example.org is my e-mail address for receiving e-transfers or for receiving any information that can help in collecting aid for Ukraine.
These are the first seven steps aimed at preserving democracy, the peace, life and freedom of the civilian population.
May the Lord protect us all and grant us all a peaceful sky above our heads.