SaskTel Connecting with Community challenge raises funds for displaced Ukrainians in Saskatchewan

SaskTel Connecting with Community challenge raises funds for displaced Ukrainians in Saskatchewan

August 29, 2022

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This year, SaskTel’s Connecting with Community 2022 corporate challenge was held in support of displaced Ukrainians arriving in Saskatchewan as they escape the war in their home country.

In April 2022, SaskTel, its employees and the SaskTel Pioneers took on the ‘Plant a Seed for Peace’ challenge and raised an impressive total of $50,000 for the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) of Saskatchewan and its resettlement services.

“The Connecting with Community challenge supports a worthy cause every year,” said Amy Richardson, SaskTel Human Resources Manager – Strategic Workforce Planning. “Our employees go above and beyond to give back to the communities where we live and work. The challenge is about bringing us together as one SaskTel team and rallying around a common cause.”

Annually, SaskTel and its employees donate to an organization in-need – such as the Food Banks of Saskatchewan or those that work directly with homeless individuals.

This year, all funds raised went directly to the UCC of Saskatchewan to help support displaced Ukrainian families. The organization provides programs and services for the Saskatchewan community to maintain, develop and share its Ukrainian Canadian identity and aspirations.

With a generous $10,000 donation received from the SaskTel Pioneers, $14,000 in employee donations and an additional contribution from SaskTel, the challenge raised a total of $50,000.

As a ‘thank you’ to employees, they each received a package of sunflower seeds – Ukraine’s national flower – to plant in their gardens, representing a message of support for the country and its people.

“We have already seen families arriving in communities across Saskatchewan,” said Danylo Puderak, Executive Director of UCC Saskatchewan. “We are here to play the role of a gateway to the settlement sector for them.”

Because displaced Ukrainians aren’t considered refugees in Canada, they do not have access to all the same supports as a refugee would – such as income assistance.

With this top of mind, the organization acts as a central point of contact and coordination to help anyone arriving to the province from Ukraine to connect with the information, services and supports required to establish a new life in Saskatchewan.

“So, while they are getting settled, possibly taking English classes, and looking for work, they may require more support,” he said. “We are just very grateful to SaskTel for including us in in its initiative this year.”

The UCC has identified priorities and more immediate areas of focus for incoming funds including grocery gift cards and housing assistance. They will also distribute welcome packages with necessities such as hygiene products and diapers.

“Ukraine may be thousands of miles from us, but as people make their way to our province, the Plant a Seed for Peace challenge is our way of helping them feel welcomed and supported,” said Amy. “It’s all in keeping with a strong culture of giving at SaskTel.”

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