Welcome center for Ukrainian refugees opens in Nampa
Hundreds of refugees and community members gathered for the opening of the Ukrainian Welcome Center in Nampa on Saturday.
The event showcased Ukrainian cuisine, like layer cakes and other pastries, and savory dishes like borscht or beet soup. Kids played carnival games and played on bounce houses in the small garden next to the center.
“We want to be the hub of resources to make sure that these people have a place to go to where they’re going to have reliable information and the kind of assistance that they truly need," said Tina Polishchuk, the Outreach Director for the Idaho Alliance for Ukrainian Immigrants and Refugees.
The Idaho Alliance for Ukrainian Immigrants and Refugees organized the center, with help from the Idaho Office for Refugees.
The center is located at 304 16th Avenue N. in Nampa, the former site of the Lighthouse Rescue Mission.
Millions have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February, and about 220 of those refugees have landed in Idaho.
Larger, older families make up much of the incoming population. Polishchuk said that men of fighting age, who often parent smaller families, are unable to leave the country at this time.
The center will provide refugees with basic needs like food, clothing and shelter, as well as assistance with things like employment documentation. Limited bed space is available at the center for those who need a temporary place to stay.
Volunteers will help run the center, alongside help from the Boise Rescue Mission and the Idaho Office for Refugees. Rev. Bill Roscoe, the Mission's CEO, also made an appearance at the event.
“We’re very, very grateful for the entire community and the ways that people are stepping up," Polishchuk said.