By Suzanne Knight, Walmart Canada Vice President, Transformation Services
Everything became real the moment I saw their faces.
It was a Ukrainian couple with a young child asking for help on a video call. They were among the millions of Ukrainians who fled their homes when their country became a warzone in late February.
They had nowhere to go and no safe place for their child. I offered them a free place to stay in the guest room of my Toronto home.
“Yes, please. We want to stay in your home,” the mother told me. The look on her face said it all.
I saw the faces of concerned parents and an innocent seven-year-old boy. I saw an opportunity to help.
If they had any other options, they wouldn’t fly across the world to share a home with strangers in a foreign country. Clearly, they were desperate for help. I couldn’t turn my back on them.
I told my Walmart Canada colleagues and neighbours about the situation. I asked if they would be interested in assisting the family with financial security during their first few months in Canada and helping to replace the possessions they had to leave behind in Ukraine. Thankfully, my Walmart family and community contributed generous donations to assist my Ukrainian guests when they needed it most.
A few months later, the family I helped is back on its feet. They moved into a new apartment. The child is attending a new school and has become close friends with my children. The mother is excelling in her new job and the father gratefully accepted a job offer with Walmart Canada last week. They are happy, healthy and safe in Canada. I’m so grateful for all the help they have received.