Supporting Ukrainian Refugees in Maple Ridge

Helping Ukrainian refugees is a humanitarian effort that requires global solidarity. As the conflict in Ukraine continues to displace countless individuals and families, offering assistance can make a significant difference in their lives. we were fortunate to help the Ridge Meadows Ukrainian Welcoming Committee Leadership Team and several Ukrainian families by providing storage space for their belongings and furniture.

By extending a helping hand to Ukrainian refugees, we alleviate their immediate suffering and contribute to the hope of a brighter, more secure future for those affected by this crisis. Since March 2022, we helped them save over $4,300 in storage fees.

If you have the space to host a refugee family, please consider it. If you’d like to donate and support the situation in Ukraine, click here for the Ukraine Emergency page.

5 Storage And Packing Tips That Protect The Planet

We live in a country where we’re lucky to have recycling programs, public transportation systems and eco-friendly initiatives. Many of us benefit from clean hydro-electric power. Canadians love to talk about how amazing we are. But are we actually ‘walking the walk’? 

We’re still a society that creates a ton of waste. Canadians throw away over 3 million tons of plastic every year. From unnecessary plastic packaging to disposable fashion, we can and should be doing better. 

As a Canadian self storage company, we’d like to share some ways you can be even more green, whether it’s storage at home or leasing an off-site unit with someone like us.

Use cardboard instead of plastic

While it’s tempting to use plastic tubs and containers to keep items safe and dry, try to use recycled cardboard boxes instead. Plastic isn’t biodegradable like cardboard and can take anywhere from 20 years (grocery bags) to 450 years (water bottles) to break down.

However, we understand if you’re worried about moisture seeping through paper-based boxes. In this case, we recommend trying to find storage bins that are made of bamboo or bioplastics made of biodegradable materials (like corn).

But if you already have plastic bins, you might as well get as much use out of them as possible. We just don’t recommend going out and buying new ones!

Pack with paper instead of bubble wrap

Like using cardboard boxes instead of plastic tubs, you should choose paper packing materials (including professional packing paper or newspaper) or biodegradable peanuts instead of bubble wrap and styrofoam. These will protect your belongings just as well (if not better) than plastic products.

If you’re moving or leaving a significant amount of stuff in a storage unit, buying in bulk can also save on waste because there may be less packaging materials. 

Recycle or reuse your packing and storage materials

If you’re done with your boxes, packing paper and peanuts, recycle or donate them so they don’t end up in the landfill. You might have a friend, relative, or neighbour who could put them to use and keep paying it forward until the materials are finally worn out.

Save energy with off-site storage

A climate-controlled off-site storage unit can help you free up space at home so you don’t have to use as much energy to heat the whole space. Think of public storage like public transportation, where everyone shares the cost and results in less energy used per person or household.

Climate-controlled storage also helps to preserve your belongings. If you keep your things in a cold, damp basement, you might end up having to toss things due to mold or water damage, which results in more waste.

In a nutshell, moving and storage can be eco-friendly if you do it right. In fact, putting things in storage rather than throwing them away is one way to keep them out of the landfill. Whether you’re reusing, recycling or donating, you can reduce your impact on the environment, even if it’s in your own small way.

One Way Canadians Can Support Ukrainian Refugees In Your City

When you think about reasons to be grateful to be Canadian, look no further than local mom Stephanie Clark and other volunteers in North Vancouver who have come together to help Ukrainian families displaced by war.

Over 12 Million Ukrainians have fled their homes following the Russian invasion in March 2022 and over 55,000 of those arrived in Canada between January 1 and June 26.

The government of Canada is offering a program for Ukrainians to work or study in Canada for up to three years, but they’re only providing limited financial assistance. Finding housing is the biggest hurdle for these refugees, says Ihor Michalchyshyn, executive director of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – especially in expensive cities like Vancouver.

Stephanie wanted to do more to help, so she decided to band together with neighbours and open their homes to refugees through a public bulletin website called Ukraine Take Shelter. They connected with three families – all extended relatives of each other – whose homes were destroyed and who escaped with only a backpack.

While they had some savings, the value of Ukrainian currency was so low compared to the Canadian dollar they knew it wouldn’t go far once they got to Canada. Thanks to Stephanie’s act of kindness, they were able to get past the initial challenge and not worry about money while they figured out their next steps.

As of June 29, the families – 6 adults and 3 children – are now living in their interim homes in North Van.

Getting to Canada was one major hurdle, but the family breadwinners are now in the process of finding employment, working on their English skills, and getting their kids into school.

Generous people have been donating things like furniture and clothing for the refugee families, but until they’ve secured long-term housing there isn’t enough space in the hosts’ homes. We’ve donated a locker at our North Vancouver location to store donated items in the meantime.

Because of Good Samaritans like Stephanie, three families have places to live while they get settled. And they finally have a chance to breathe after months burdened by stress.

If you have the space to host a refugee family, please consider it. If you’d like to donate and support the families staying with Stephanie and her neighbours, click here for the GoFundMe page.