A garage sale in Garrison Village this weekend will be dedicating all of its proceeds to organizations in Ukraine and a Ukrainian refugee family living in Niagara Falls.
Members of the Tymchyshyn family – Tatiana, 46, Anastasia, 11, and Oleksandra, 80 – arrived in Niagara three weeks ago, said family friend Daria Zakharchenko, after fleeing their home country due to the violent Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“They’re from Kyiv, the same as me and my family,” Zakharchenko said in an interview Tuesday.
It was no mean feat for the three to make their way to Canada.
“They were going to the west part of Ukraine (from Kyiv). Usually, the drive takes about seven hours. It took them 24 hours to get there,” she said.
“Because lots of people were running, lots of refugees, and they were all going to the west part of Ukraine, it was a tough time.”
The three family members travelled from Lviv to the Czech Republic. Due to Oleksandra’s lack of a visa, they had to wait some time while the appropriate paperwork was put together.
From Bohemia, the family travelled to Paris, where they spent the better part of a week finalizing the details of their visas.
Zakharchenko knows the family through 27-year-old Artur Tymchyshyn. The two met nearly a decade ago at an airport in Amsterdam, both on their way to pursue a new life in Canada.
Due to some exorbitant plane ticket costs and paperwork issues, Artur had to drive from Niagara to Montreal to pick up his sister, mother and grandmother and bring them to Niagara Falls.
Artur’s father is still in Ukraine as nearly all the men in the country have been drafted to defend against the invading Russian army.
Through the Canada Homestay Network, the Tymchyshyns are now living in Niagara Falls.
Zakharchenko said Artur will soon be moving to an apartment in St. Catharines and his family will most likely move with him.
The family will be at the garage sale on Saturday.
Now the Tymchyshyns turn to some more basic struggles in their temporary home – where will Anastasia go to school and where can Tatiana find work?
Enter Brian Carberry and Jan van Haren, NOTL residents for 15 years and proprietors of Ranger’s Retreat Bed and Breakfast.
The couple can’t provide Tatiana with a place to work but they will be donating a portion of the proceeds of their upcoming garage sale to the family.
“They arrived just with their suitcases and nothing else,” Carberry said in an interview on Tuesday.
Carberry said van Haren was raised just after the Second World War. The current situation in Ukraine has dredged up memories of living in post-war Netherlands.
“The idea that everything can be taken from someone so easily, it’s just a horrible experience. We’re very fortunate over on this side of the ocean that, at this point, it’s not affecting us,” Carberry said.
Carberry and van Haren are both Rotary Club members and said they were partially inspired by the club’s upcoming garage sale to do something similar.
The two both worked in the hospitality industry in the Netherlands and many of the items for sale are things they brought with them after closing their restaurant and moving to Canada.
Van Haren is quite the figure in the hospitality industry in the Netherlands, having been knighted by the King of the Netherlands in 2015 for his contributions to the industry.
Carberry is, understandably, very proud of those achievements.
The rest of the funds will be going to Rotary clubs in Ukraine, he said.
Carberry asks that people attending the sale respect the current situation with COVID-19 and try to maintain social distancing. Masks are encouraged but not required but he said everyone running the sale will be wearing one.
The garage sale will be on April 23 at 19 Colonel Butler Cres. between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Carberry said the items will be coming from his and van Haren’s personal collection, featuring “luxury small items” such as “silver plates, crystal glass, chairs, lamps, full flowers, collectibles, and garden perennials,” to name a few.
Alitura Fine Foods will be providing cookies for the sale.
Zhakarchenko works for PigOut Catering, which will be holding a barbecue at the event. The food will be free but the hosts will be asking everyone to donate to support Ukraine and the Tymchyshyns.
Readers may recall Zakharchenko spoke with The Lake Report in March about her work raising funds for Ukraine and about her mother, father and grandmother who are still living in embattled Kyiv.
She said her family is doing as well as can be in a country under siege, but things have grown more difficult.
“My family, they don’t have their jobs anymore. So I’m sending them money,” Zakharchenko said.
But there has been some rising hope as the Ukrainian army pushes back Russian offensives across the country, with the Russian’s recently retreating from Kyiv, the country's capital city, to focus on offensives in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine.
Of particular celebration was the recent sinking of the Russian Black Sea flagship, Moskva, which translates to Moscow.
The ship was allegedly sunk by Ukrainian missiles.
“But the Russians are still saying, ‘No, it was just a fire on the ship. Bombs? What bombs?’ ” Zakharchenko said.
She noted the Moskva was allegedly hit by Ukrainian missiles on April 14, the 110-year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.
People on the internet have been busy making comparisons between the two ships, she said, including that the Titanic cost about $75 million to build compared to the Moskva’s $750 million.
Zakharchenko encourages anyone who wishes to help Ukraine to donate money, as common items such as clothes are not needed at this time.