Two Chilliwack families made a connection in Ukraine this week.
Chad and Mary Martz live in western Ukraine where they have been helping refugees fleeing the Russian invasion on the other side of the country. Chad’s sister-in-law Amberly met a mother at her child’s school in Yarrow who said her in-laws were in Ukraine and on the move to escape the violence.
“Here I am in Yarrow worrying about this and my son is in the same class as Amberly,” said the woman, whose Ukraininan husband asked that their names not be used.
Amberly passed on the Martzes number to the family in Ukraine and they connected. They stayed at the Martz house for one night before moving on and finding a more long-term solution.
Chad and Mary have been updating people back home in Canada with video updates posted on the Hungry For Life International Facebook page. The couple both work for the Christian charitable organization based in Chilliwack
The Progress talked to Chad over Facetime last Thursday (Feb. 24) and he explained that while the Canadian government is recommending citizens leave, they aren’t going anywhere.
“We’ve got the ability to help,” Chad said. “We are in a position to help those that are fleeing from the conflict areas. We are quite well networked in the country, my wife comes from a large family. So we are pretty well connected for me to get up and leave.”
The Martz family has called Ukraine home for less than a year. Mary is from Ukraine, but Chad grew up in Chilliwack, graduated from Chilliwack Secondary School. Mary has twice been written about in The Progress for her missions to help people in Ukraine, the first time when Russia invaded and annexed Crimea in 2014.
Last week, they were preparing for dozens of people to arrive in the small community where they live. They have been working with several local churches, buying food and supplies, and helping out Ukrainians fleeing the Russian aggression.
And the people indeed started coming. Chad said this week that they’ve helped arrange for as many as 100 people each to stay at 10 local churches. They had planned on housing people themselves, but are mostly using their own home as a logistics centre to arrange to help the refugees.
“We are working on securing logistics so that we have enough supplies for the immediate and long-term needs of people,” Chad said Tuesday. “Having the huge amount of refugees coming placed and provided for, we are using our house as the central location for the team to work out of and also a transit place if we have people needing to stay.”
They did have the family of four connected to the Yarrow family stay with them for one night, and another family arrived in the morning to shower and eat. He said they went over to Mary’s mother’s house one night this week and she had 28 refugees staying in her home.
With the Russian invasion of Ukraine changing by the day and the hour, the Martz family are doing their best to help anyone fleeing the violence.
If anyone wants to help out, Chad says their office at Hungry for Life International is a great place to start. They are located at 45950 Alexander Ave. and the website is www.hungryforlife.org. And 100 per cent of donations go to the front lines, they don’t take a cut for office expenses.
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