The work of the Ukraine Relief Coalition, of which U.S. Mennonite Brethren from Pacific Keep Church and Pilgrim Slavic Baptist Church are a part, continues as Ukrainian refugees arrive in Spokane, Washington.
Displaced by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, more than 150 refugees have found temporary housing at Thrive Center, a previously vacant Quality Inn near downtown Spokane. URC partner Thrive International secured the building through a grant from the state of Washington.
The 150-room building contains a commercial kitchen, conference room, dining areas and pool and serves as subsidized transitional housing for refugees awaiting work authorization. The first refugee families checked in June 7. By mid-July, the hotel was at 93 percent capacity, says URC member Violet Tsyukalo.
The URC is working with government officials to expedite the work authorization process, which can take up to six months.
Members of the URC are administering grant funds to provide one-time financial assistance to refugees for housing payments, food, clothing and household items. The URC has processed nearly 200 applications for assistance. Thrive has also received 40 full-size refrigerators for hotel residents.
The work of Thrive International and the URC prompted a visit from U.S. representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who toured Thrive Center in late June.
Local representatives, including county commissioners, the fire department, law enforcement and the county sheriff, as well as several hundred Spokane residents, attended a grand opening for Thrive Center July 16.
The ceremony featured vocal and instrumental performances as well as a choir comprised of local Slavic musicians.
Boris Borisov, pastor of the MB congregation Pacific Keep Church, shared about the grant and obtaining the hotel. Local pastors, including MB pastor Alexandr Kaprian, prayed for the refugees.
To learn more, visit: https://thriveint.org/thrive-center.
Thrive has created Amazon kits for purchase that will help refugees furnish their living spaces. View them for purchase here: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/29BLGM4QH00UC?ref_=wl_share.
Donations to the Ukraine Relief Fund may also be made here: https://app.easytithe.com/App/Form/69eeb0ee-93cc-4524-a07c-6647c1b246f8.
Janae Rempel is the Christian Leader associate editor. She joined the CL staff in September 2017 with six years of experience as a professional journalist. Rempel is an award-winning writer, having received three 2016 Kansas Press Association Awards of Excellence and an Evangelical Press Association Higher Goals award in 2022. Rempel graduated from Tabor College in 2010 with a bachelor of arts in Communications/Journalism and Biblical/Religious Studies. She attends Hillsboro MB Church.