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May 30, 2023

Waterloo Region, Ontario. Waterloo Region Grassroots Response to the Ukrainian Crisis

(WRGR), a volunteer-led group of residents helping Ukrainian people fleeing the devastating war in their country, organized a special evening to celebrate the many people in our Region that have generously volunteered their time and opened their homes to displaced Ukrainian families.

On May 27, a fun-filled Potluck Dinner was held at the Ukrainian Catholic Centre in Kitchener. Nearly 300 people attended the event that included a mix of hosts, newcomers, and volunteers. In addition to food and lively bubbly conversation, some lively entertainment was featured including a rousing rendition of “Be Our Guest” by 13-year-old Rebecca Yakymova dressed as Belle from Beauty and the beast and a brilliant execution of the popular Ukrainian song “Nadiya Yea” delivered by a 17-year-old Newcomer.

Following a dinner that included a variety of familiar dishes, several Ukrainian people took to the stage to express their gratitude for Canadians and especially for their local host families. Dialogue included both successes and ongoing challenges involving language barriers, employment, and housing.

Stephanie Goertz, co-founder of WRGR then took the stage to speak about the dire need for more hosts, acknowledging that our volunteer group is "…facing one of their worst shortages of hosts for newcomers…” WRGR has more than 40 families in need over the next 1-2 months so the need for more hosts is urgent. Some of these newcomers have only a few days left in Government hotels and risk homelessness if housing cannot be found.

Also in attendance were Waterloo Regional Chair Karen Redmond and Mike Morrice, MP for

Kitchener Centre. The evening concluded with some fun raffles for prizes and giveaways of donated toys, food, clothing, and other items including hundreds of dollars worth of reusable lunch products generously contributed by Fenigo in Waterloo.

Please visit our website for additional information about our in-person events at the end of each month Learn more about how impactful it can be to be a host for a family

We may also be contacted at or 519-242-8524.

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