Ukrainian family benefit concert

By Channing Rodman

To benefit a local Ukrainian family in need, St Thomas the Apostle Anglican Church invites you to our “Light The Way” concert on November 19. Featuring a bake sale, craft sale, silent auction and enchanting choral music, this event will raise funds to support the Kateryniaks, a newcomer Ukrainian family building a new life in our community.

Meet the Kateryniaks
Before the war, the Kateryniaks lived in a medieval town in Ukraine, in houses just a few streets from each other. Mariana and Oksana are married to brothers who had to remain in Ukraine to serve their country – one in the army, one working in the gas sector. They each have two children: Pavlo, 17, and his six-year-old sister Anna, as well as Davyd, 10, and his six-year-old brother Demian. A year ago, volunteers at St Thomas began helping the Kateryniaks to resettle in Ottawa. In fact, you might have first met them in our local Being Neighbourly Facebook group, where local folks contributed support for their arrival. One incredibly kind and generous host opened her home in Old Ottawa South to the family of six, offering them free housing for eight months.
Since resettling here, Mariana has been pursuing her dream of working in landscape architecture again and Oksana hopes to work full time in cosmetics. For now, the sisters-in-law trade off shifts at the Billings Lodge as client care assistants – one works while the other cares for the children. They are also studying English.

Meanwhile, the kids are following their own dreams. Davyd is a talented soccer player who’s been able to develop his skills thanks to the support of generous volunteers. The six-year-old cousins, Demian and Anna, love playing together at after-school programs. Pavlo, has impressed everyone with his focus – he is diligently finishing high school at Glebe Collegiate in a new language while at the same time completing his Ukrainian high-school diploma. He hopes to study cyber-security in university so that he can someday help his country. But as the war in Ukraine drags on, separating these kids from their fathers, rents are soaring in Ottawa, and these families are facing urgent financial need.

Ukrainian Family Relief Fund
St Thomas has launched the Ukrainian Family Relief Fund to help relieve their needs until they can fully support themselves. Mariana and Oksana have been working hard to learn English, find meaningful work and support their children as they adjust to life in Canada. St Thomas’s Ukrainian Family Relief Fund aims to raise $50,000 before December, enough money to cover their rent for the upcoming year and help Pavlo with the cost of Canadian university.
To support them, you are warmly invited to bring your families to “Light The Way” on November 19 at St Thomas the Apostle Church, 2345 Alta Vista Drive, to enjoy an afternoon of music and community. Ticket holders will enjoy beautiful choral music from several choirs, including the Ottawa Children’s Choir and the Military Wives Choir. There will also be a silent auction that includes lovely textiles from Ukraine. Doors open at 2 p.m. for the bake and craft sale, so early birds can have their cake and get holiday shopping done while supporting their neighbours.

Tickets are available in advance or at the door for a suggested contribution of $40 for the live concert. For folks who prefer to enjoy the concert from home, we’ll be offering a link to experience the concert virtually for a suggested contribution of $20. To get a ticket, simply e-transfer your contribution to with the subject line “Light The Way,” and you’ll receive your ticket by email within three business days.

If you would like to talk more to St Thomas’s team about how you or your business can support the Ukrainian Family Relief Fund, we would love to hear from you! Please reach out at, and tell us how you’d like to help.

And if you can’t attend the concert but want to support these two newcomer families, we would be incredibly grateful for your generosity. You can donate at

Channing Rodman is a volunteer with St Thomas’s Ukrainian Family Relief Fund. She lives and works in Old Ottawa South, just a few blocks from her neighbours, the Kateryniaks.

PHOTO: St Thomas volunteer Jean Jordan models a handcrafted hat in Ukrainian colours, to be sold at the Light The Way craft sale November 19 at St Thomas the  Apostle Church to support a local Ukrainian family.

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