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Port Moody concert raising money to help families fleeing the war in Ukraine

Proceeds from the concert will help Ukrainian refugee families settle into their new lives in Canada
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Ukrainian violinist Vasyl Popadiuk is a featured performer at Saturday's benefit concert at Port Moody's Inlet Theatre.

A fundraising concert scheduled for Port Moody’s Inlet Theatre on Saturday (April 23) will help Ukrainian families displaced by Russia’s invasion of their country settle into their new homes in Canada.

For some guests, the cause hits particularly close.

Organizer Svitlana Kominko said two families who recently settled into new apartments in Port Moody provided by developer Woodbridge Homes will be sharing their experiences of escaping the war as part of the evening’s lineup that includes performances by:

  • Ukrainian violinist Vasyl Popadiuk, who now lives in Ottawa
  • concert pianist Borys Konovalov
  • singers Yaroslava Tanko and Elena Nikitina
  • Coquitlam Youth Orchestra

The concert starts at 7 p.m. following a reception, silent auction and art exhibition that begin at 6 p.m.

Kominko said it’s been a harried and emotional time for the non-profit group, Maple Hope Foundation, that she co-founded in 2014 to support Ukrainians in Crimea and Donbass when Russia invaded those regions.

Since the latest aggressions began Feb. 24, the group has been collecting and shipping medical supplies like first aid kits, bandages and tourniquets, as well as protective equipment like bulletproof vests and drones to help the military resistance.

It’s also working with volunteers at Ukraine’s border with Romania to help women and children fleeing the war with food, shelter and diapers.

Kominko said the horrific images of the war that dominate the nightly news have fuelled an outpouring of support from Canadians, including $15,000 of prescription drugs and medical supplies that were shipped to Ukraine just days after the conflict started, and further procurement of medical equipment such as defibrillators and 20 monitors for intensive care patients that were shipped last week.

“Canadians that are helping are uniting around the cause,” she said.

Kominko said the City of Port Moody has been particularly generous, sponsoring the benefit concert so all proceeds can go toward the aid effort.

She added Mayor Rob Vagramov also made the introduction that led to the donation of three apartments in the new Moody rental complex on St. Johns Street where refugee families will be able to live rent-free for six months as they get settled, work through the immigration process, enrol children in local schools and look for work.

Vagramov was born in Ukraine after his family fled the civil war in neighbouring Georgia.

Kominko said the families coming from Ukraine are fleeing untold trauma.

Even if they weren’t in the direct line of shelling, their lives were turned upside down by the constant blaring of air raid sirens and disruptions of familiar routines.

“Every single person is struggling,” Kominko said. “Everything is out of their control.”

• Click here for more information about the Maple Hope Foundation.

• For tickets to the concert go to Event Brite.