Homes for holidays: Utahns help Ukrainian families get homes

Oct 11, 2022, 5:36 PM | Updated: 7:01 pm

OREM, Utah —  A local charity, focused on providing relief to Ukrainians, is leading a housing project that is already sheltering people whose homes were destroyed by bombs. To Ukraine with Love has already given $1.7 million in support of Ukrainians since the beginning of the war. This latest fundraiser is already bringing neighborhoods together here and in Ukraine.

It’s called Homes for the Holidays. To Ukraine with Love is challenging neighborhoods, families, or any groups to raise money to buy a modular home for a specific family. Fundraisers can even share a video call with the Ukrainians when they receive their home.

“Our whole mission is to help Ukrainians outlast their invaders,” Shelly Parcell, who has volunteered with To Ukraine with Love since it started last spring, said. “So, we do what’s necessary at the moment, and right now we’re trying to prepare them to survive this upcoming winter.”

A family in Ukraine in front of the modular home they received.

Five Ukrainian families already have their new modular homes. They cost $16,000, and can be built and delivered in two weeks. To Ukraine with Love hopes to get fundraisers going so the Ukrainians can be in their new homes by Thanksgiving, before winter.

“It’s going to be brutal there, and they need our support,” Parcell said. “They need to know that they’re not forgotten.”

Parcell organized creative fundraising with her neighbors in Orem. She sold homemade salsa with ingredients donated from the neighborhood. Several children packaged and sold seeds from sunflowers, the national flower of Ukraine.

Left to right: Sarah Young, Kaitlyn Howell, Nancy Cadjan, Shelly Parcell are neighbors in Orem who have come up with creative fundraising ideas to buy modular homes for Ukrainians through To Ukraine with Love.

Sarah Young held a boutique sale, and plans to donate her proceeds from the Orem Farmers’ Market Wednesday night at the Community Park on Center Street. She said a couple of Ukrainian refugees also have stands at the farmers market to raise money for their families.

“I think most people that have watched any of the news reports want to do something,” Young said. “So, if they have something that they can purchase that gives them a little bit of benefit and they feel like they’re helping, it’s a pretty good combination.”

Amanda Olsen’s son knitted a hat in the Ukrainian colors, with people holding hands. He plans to raise money with the pattern.

“We haven’t experienced what it’s like to be shelled, and bombed and have our entire town disrupted and have our homes disrupted,” Olsen said.

That’s why neighbors are pitching in with unique gifts, like a hand-quilted patchwork duffel. Kaitlyn Howell runs a quilting business and raised $2400 by raffling off the duffel to her Instagram followers.

“This is a perfect opportunity,” Howell said. “I can give. I can care about it. I can give a little money. I can share something I made. I can involve my community.”

In this Orem neighborhood, neighbors are coming together to help Ukrainians stay in their neighborhoods.

“This provides them just enough of a leg up to be able to stay where they are and keep their communities intact,” Parcell said.

To get involved, visit toukrainewithlove.org.

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Homes for holidays: Utahns help Ukrainian families get homes