When Julia and her husband’s human rights and fundamental freedoms were stripped away by the war in Ukraine, they fled to Canada to find peace and safety. Today, they are grateful for the support they’ve received from The Salvation Army and the additional gift of personal freedom.

“With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it was a priority for my family to think and act fast to bring my parents to Canada,” says Eugen, Julia’s husband. “We didn’t know how quickly the situation would escalate.”

Julia and Eugen arrived in Canada first, five days before roadblocks were set up at all entrances to their city.

“Material things weren’t a concern at all,” Julia says. “We just wanted to live.”

“Without support from The Salvation Army, I don’t know what I would have done.” Eugen.

Once his parents joined them in Oshawa, Ont., Eugen had more than his family of five to feed. He needed practical help and searched online for food banks. He was relieved to know that The Salvation Army’s community and family services helped people in any situation.

“Without support from The Salvation Army, I don’t know what I would have done,” says Eugen.

While Eugen chose his non-perishable and fresh food itemsat the food bank, Julia wept as she spoke of her homeland.

“I am so glad I could come here,” she says. “So many people in Ukraine live in basements with no opportunity for escape. They have no hope and don’t know day by day how they will survive.”

Julia is devastated by the fact that many of her friends’ children went to war and didn’t survive. “What did we do to deserve such violence?” she questions.

“When my parents arrived at our home, we had spent all our savings on getting them here,” says Eugen. “It was difficult for us to provide food and basic needs for us all. The Salvation Army gave great hope to our family.”

Linda Leigh is manager of communications at The Salvation Army’s territorial headquarters in Toronto.

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