A sudden snow squall turns a Kyiv neighborhood white, February 2019. Submitted photo

A group of Farmington area residents have been meeting to discuss providing support for displaced Ukrainians under the U.S. government program, Uniting for Ukraine. Millions of people have been forced to leave their homes and millions now have no homes to return to since the Russian army first attacked the country on Feb. 24. The Uniting for Ukraine program will permit up to 100,000 Ukrainians to live in the U.S. for two years as “humanitarian parolees.” To be eligible for the program, Ukrainians must have an American sponsor who will be able to provide financial and social support. The main focus of the local discussion group is to determine if the community is willing and able to support Ukrainian families, according to a news release from Janine Winn.

The host/sponsor can be an individual or a group, and the loosely formed Farmington group is discussing ways that the local community might be able to host Ukrainians. So far, the group has met twice. Points of conversation ranged widely: What will hosted families need? Would Ukrainians want to live in a rural area rather than a city? What are the financial obligations involved in providing support? Perhaps an individual family can provide housing for a Ukrainian family and community organizing can provide essential peripheral support. A fiscal sponsor might be needed to handle funding. What programs would Ukrainians be eligible for under the humanitarian parol program? For answers, the group is turning to resources from government agencies and programs affiliated with Peace Corps Ukraine.

The group was first called together by Winn of Temple, who served three years in Ukraine with the Peace Corps, from 2017 to 2020. While the western mountain region where she stayed has not been attacked by Russia, the entire country is suffering the effects of war. Winn is committed to doing what she can to support the people who welcomed her so warmly into their lives.

The group, which at present has no official name, will meet again at 4 p.m. Monday, July 11, in the Gathering Area room at St. Joseph’s Church on Middle Street in Farmington. Interested folks are welcome to attend. For more information, call Winn at 207-578-8220.


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