Zustreech Holds Appreciation Dinner

Zustreech members, volunteers and donors at the appreciation dinner in Mundare, September 15. Marco Levytsky

NP–UN Western Bureau.

The Zustreech Ukrainian Society held an appreciation dinner at Mundare’s Ukrainian National Hall, September 16, to thank its members and all the volunteers and donors who assist them in their humanitarian missions for Ukrainian veterans.

Since the outbreak of the war with Russia in 2014, Zustreech has been instrumental in recruiting volunteers and collecting donations of medical supplies from several hospitals and one pharmacy in the Edmonton area and shipping them to Ukraine.

During the past four years, Zustreech has sent seven tons of supplies to the Ukrainian army.

Among the principal donors are Lamont Hospital, Mundare Hospital, University Hospital in Edmonton and Market Drugs in Edmonton.

Much of the success of the humanitarian aid program has been due to the efforts of Zustreech President Bohdan Pivovarchuk.

Bohdan has managed to reach out to doctors, nurses, radiologists, pharmacies, hospitals and military. He has initiated fundraisers at events such as the Pysanka Festival, Vegreville Agricultural Fair, Ukrainian Day, Baba’s and Borshch Festival.

Pivovarchuk had the personal initiative to support Ukraine’s volunteer army both morally and financially. In 2015, Zustreech donated $5,000 from organized fundraisers for medical and material supplies for immediate need of soldiers in Ukraine. As an individual volunteer, Bohdan purchased, delivered and sent packages to Ukraine’s volunteer army battalions weekly since 2014. He supplies boots, hunting gloves, pants, hats, toiletries, candles, hunting jackets, thermal underwear, heavy socks, night vision goggles, knives, medical supplies, Tylenol, gauze, tape, 50 kg of coffee, spotting scopes, hunters knee pads, sweaters, shoes, mechanical tools, GPS equipment and batteries.

In summer of 2015, Bohdan sponsored an army volunteer singer and peace activist, Sofiya Fedyna, to Alberta in a fundraising initiative to raise needed funds for the Ukrainian volunteer army. As a result of the fundraising initiatives and performances by Sofiya Fedyna, $26,000 was raised to support needs of the volunteer battalions in Ukraine. Since 2016 to present time, Bohdan is supporting Kirovohrad Veterans Rehabilitation Hospital in the provision of medical, rehabilitation and psychological to Kirovohrad Oblast Hospital for veterans and their families. Bohdan is also supporting The Social Service agency which provides aid and support to deceased and injured families of veterans.

On his own initiative and personal cost, Bohdan met twice with Doctor Serhiy Siabrenko in Kropyvnytskyi, Ukraine. He made first visit to the hospital in October of 2017 and the second in May of 2018 to confirm and scrutinize that materials were being received and used by appropriate recipients. Bohdan Pivovarchuk visited the front line twice and witnessed needs required by the volunteer army soldiers. He provides not only medical, but needed material items, moral and psychological support. He is currently organizing a fundraising project at Pysanka Festival to continue supporting rehabilitation centre and its supporting agencies. As well, Bohdan is a current member of Vegreville Agricultural Association and an active participant in Vegreville Agricultural Society

Zustreech was founded in Mundare, located 80 kilometres east of Edmonton, in 1996 and the name was chosen as the name because the goal of the society was for Ukrainians to have a meeting place – from word Zustreechatysia. After formally establishing Zustreech as a Society, Pivovarchuk recruited members from Mundare, Smoky Lake, Vegreville and Kalyna Country. Through his initiative, Zustreech Society organized cultural events like Obzynky in the Mundare Recreational Centre in 1997 and 1998. As well, Bohdan organized yearly carolling to raise funds for Zustreech. The overall goal was to maintain and promote Ukrainian cultural activities. In conjunction with Teacher Exchange group from Ukraine, Zustreech Ukrainian Society organized a Theatrical performance in 1998 ‘

As President since 1996, Bohdan coordinated and facilitated Zustreech sing-along events welcoming newcomers from Ukraine to strengthen community and Ukrainian spirit in western Canada. He also provided encouragement, long term moral, financial and social support to Ukrainian newcomers in their adjustment to Canadian life. Many newcomers later became active members in the Ukrainian community. As president, he acted as liaison with Kalyna Country and initiated financial support to the following: Town of Mundare, Town of Lamont, Heart and Stroke Foundation, 2009 to 2018 support for Stars Air Ambulance and 2014 to 2018, support for Ukrainian Volunteer Soldiers. He also coordinated Ukrainian entertainment for Mundare Canada Day.