It’s a place that provides some of the comforts of home for displaced Ukrainians relocating to Kelowna.
The Ukrainian Free Store is stocked with many of the household items people escaping the war in Ukraine need to start a new life in Canada.
“They need everything, especially for the kitchen,” said Kathleen Fieseler, store coordinator. “If you can think of your child moving out for the first time, what do they need?”
The volunteer-run store is operated by Kelowna Stands With Ukraine and is located in the basement of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (1935 Barlee Rd.)
It’s open every Tuesday between 4 and 6 p.m. on a drop-in basis and literally started as a donation bin in the parking lot.
“The church has been very generous in donating the space for us,” explains Fieseler.
The store has been in the church basement since Oct. 2022 and, overall, has served 192 Ukrainian families. Fieseler says donations are always gratefully accepted.
“Our high-need items are toasters, blenders, hand-mixers, coffee presses, hairdryers, pots, microwaves and irons.”
There is also a need for children’s toys. The store does not accept clothing, shoes, or furniture due to a lack of storage space. Donations can be dropped off every Tuesday between 4 and 6 p.m.
After items have been sorted through the Bravery Foundation takes the leftover items to Value Village and receives cash for those items.
The money is used to purchase food and personal care products for displaced Ukrainians, as well as medical supplies and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.