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Inspired by an outpouring of community support earlier this month, members of Medicine Hat’s CORE Association are hoping to raise an additional $5,000 to support Ukrainian refugees locally.

“We were part of the Mardi Gras downtown and it was quite the success,” Rita Bessant, executive director of CORE Association, told the News. “Any money we raised went to the Ukrainian fund … What we’re wanting to continue to do is bring awareness and see if we can’t raise more funds for the Ukrainian newcomers.”

Bessant and her team have been working with Dwayne Zarichny, superintendent of Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education, who has helped facilitate the placement of more than 50 Ukrainian refugees, many of whom are students.

“I contacted Dwayne and said there’s a group of us who are wanting to do something. I think most people do. We have a really good community (and) we’ve been on about this for ages. So, we thought we’d put our money where our mouth is and try to contribute.”

Bessant is hoping to raise an additional $5,000 over the next few months with the help of community members.

“Going forward, we would like to challenge (the community),” she said. “If everybody at city hall gave $1, if everybody at the hospital gave $1, the police station, and other agencies and big businesses in our community, if they would give $1, look at the amount of money we could raise to help the newcomers from Ukraine.

“I don’t think we can even possibly imagine the pain that they’re experiencing; loss of control, loss of home, in many cases loss of family. This, I think, will signify a tremendous amount of caring and empathy. And I think that would help the group going forward. Emotionally, I think it would be a great help to them. I think it would ease some of their pain.”

Donations can be made out to CORE Association, so long as they are marked for Ukrainian refugees. Holy Family Parish is also accepting donations on behalf of CORE.

Bessant also encourages Hatters to keep their eyes out for upcoming fundraising events at CORE, by checking the association’s Facebook page

KENDALL KING, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News

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