Airdronians may have seen her when they were refilling their prescriptions at The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy. But Nataliya Posudevska, an Airdrie pharmacist, has also been hard at work filling the backroom of the pharmacy with donations from the community to ship to Ukraine. 

“Well, considering what's going on in Ukraine right now and considering the situation that people are in; they need any kind of help we can provide,” she said. “People back home, because they have to flee [their] houses, they're missing medications and clothing and shoes and socks and jackets; which is the basic stuff you don't even think about.” 

Posudevska had been in contact with Meest Corporation Inc, a company that ships parcels to Ukraine, including humanitarian aid parcels, and established that she would ask Airdronians to donate and then ship the parcels herself. In a social media post on March 3rd, she announced that The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy would begin accepting donations. Less than a week later, she would announce that over 200 kilograms of clothing had been donated by the community. 

On March 07th, The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy announced they would no longer be accepting clothing and item donations due to the sheer volume. 

“If people could participate with monetary cash donations that will also be helpful because for us to ship it, it does become quite expensive,” Posudevska said. “It was surprising in a way; how open people were, how people were trying to help. I got a lot of phone calls from people asking what's the best way to donate; how to participate. It’s nice to see that.” 

Posudevska grew up in the former Soviet Union (USSR) and her family hails from a city in Southeastern Ukraine. Much of her extended family and friends are still in Ukraine, amidst the war. 

“When you wake up each morning, you’re trying to get ahold of your family and see if people are still alive or not. I was talking to one of my good friends, she's a single mom and she said, if she stays in our city, she will get killed for sure,” she said. “If she is going on the road trying to evacuate herself and her son, she said, ‘Maybe I will get killed? Maybe I will not get killed, [but] If I stay in my house, I will get killed for sure.” 

When Posudevska was asked if her family is safe, she said she didn’t have a clear answer.  

“No, not really. Some of them are trying to evacuate families, but I know I can get hold of about three cousins. Nobody who I talked to has any idea where they are right now. I know they are in the city; we just don't know where they are and we can't get hold of them.” 

Because she grew up in the Soviet era, much of Ukrainian culture was not accessible to her when she lived in Ukraine, hence what Ukrainian traditions she has were fostered when she came to Canada.  

“When I was growing up, I didn't have as much [knowledge] of Ukrainian history as what I saw here. So I basically learned more about Ukrainian traditions and culture, like some meals from people who immigrated here from Ukraine before Soviet Union times, because they had a chance to bring in all the cultural traditions and histories before it was affected by the Soviet Union.” 

During Soviet-era times, national histories of individual countries were either “Russified” or falsified. Children were often forced to learn Russian. 

Though the statistics are over a decade old, according to a census in 2011, there are approximately 345,000 Albertans of Ukrainian descent and just over 29,500 Albertans reported Ukrainian as their mother tongue.  

“I really appreciate what community is doing right now,” Posudevska said. 

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, two million Ukrainians have fled since the start of the Russian invasion. 

Monetary donations are still being accepted by the Airdrie Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy until March 14th. 

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