As the conflict in Ukraine has emerged over the past few weeks, it has left many Canadians feeling helpless.
It can be easy to feel like, half a world away, there is not much that we can do. However, the team at Okanagan Publishing House (OPH) and a local author believe in the power of community, and the impact that small actions by ordinary people can make – no matter where they are.
They have created a local fundraising page, hoping to raise $2,000 to help the charity Doctors Without Borders and its emergency work in Ukraine.
The goal is to create awareness – both for the war in Ukraine, but in particular for the humanitarian needs that are already present and that will continue to emerge no matter how the conflict in the region ends. Right now, Doctors Without Borders have a boots-on-the-ground operation in Ukraine.
To show their support, OPH and Vernon author Michael Buffie will give a free copy of the book Elliot’s Pond (with free Okanagan shipping) for the first 100 donations over $20 (tax-deductible receipt also available) at canadahelps.org/en/pages/sharing-stories-of-friendship-and-giving-hope-to-u/. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your donation receipt number and mailing address to receive the book.
The children’s book was released this past summer and carries a timely message.
The story, which follows the frog Elliot and his friends Ned, Bernard, and Florence, explores themes of friendship and acceptance.
“I originally wrote Elliot’s Pond, I wanted the story to show how friendships of convenience are not always the ones that are the best,” said Buffie. “In the story, Elliot discovers that those he thought were closest with him were only friends on the surface. When he really needed them, they turned their back on him. It was the most unlikely friend, the one who seemed so different from himself, who turned out to be the most accepting, interesting and true friend. The parallel with Ukraine seems powerful. The Ukrainians thought that Russia was a true friend, but it turned out they were only a friend on the surface. Those who are turning out to be their true friends are the ones that seemed different in many ways but have motives of kindness and love.”
This conflict also hits close to home for OPH founder Jadon Dick, who sees history repeating itself.
“In 1924, my family had to flee the Zaporizhzhia Oblast in Ukraine, the very area under fire right now. I have heard firsthand of the horrors they experienced during the Russian revolution. The flags might have changed, but war is as brutal as ever. Those of us who have thrived in the safety Canada has provided us need to do what we can to contribute to peace around the world.”