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Toronto - home to more than 100,000 Ukrainians - has begun to see many community initiatives spring up to collect donations

Natalie Tershakowec , left, 27, and Lida Moroz, 27, sort paintings that are to be sent to donors. Tershakowec is a lawyer who has been painting since she was a child and decided to make these paintings to sell as a fundraiser for the Canada-Ukraine Foundation, which is fundraising for humanitarian aid to Ukraine.Marta Iwanek/The Globe and Mail

When Putin launched a war against Ukraine, Canada’s Ukrainian diaspora watched and listened in shock to what was happening with an initial sense of hopelessness. But then the community did what it have done for generations: it mobilized.

Civil society and grassroots organization have always been the foundation of Ukrainian society. Toronto, which is home to more than 100,000 Ukrainians, began to see many community initiatives spring up to support Ukraine. There was no more time for people to think, or to despair, only to act in whatever corner of their lives they could. The overwhelming outpouring of support from those outside the community continued to lift them up as everyone gathered to do what they could to lessen the increasingly worsening situation back home.

Ulana Oswald, 35, sorts supplies for Ukraine, in her living room in Mississauga, on March 2. She put out a call on Facebook for friends and co-workers to drop off humanitarian aid supplies that she will then take to larger drop-off locations.Marta Iwanek/The Globe and Mail

Ulana Oswald's kids also made drawings that she puts in every box.Marta Iwanek/The Globe and Mail

Volunteers package donations for Ukraine at the Meest location in Toronto. The word 'meest' means bridge in Ukrainian. To address the worsening humanitarian crisis, the shipping company started to accept donations and ship them to partnering charities in Ukraine.Marta Iwanek/The Globe and Mail

Valentyna Pasichnyk tapes shut a box of donations at Ivan Franko Ukrainian Retirement Home where people can drop off donations, both medical and humanitarian.Marta Iwanek/The Globe and Mail

Maria Proniuk gives a bag of donations to volunteers collecting humanitarian aid.Marta Iwanek/The Globe and Mail

Nina Kachura buys some Ukrainian cake at Future Bakery in Toronto on March 3.

Taras Tereshyn, left, hands donation boxes to volunteer Maksym Botte at the Meest location. The company has been connecting the Ukrainian diaspora with Ukraine for over 30 years.Marta Iwanek/The Globe and Mail

Volunteer Ulyana Zvizhynska takes a break from sorting donations at Ivan Franko Ukrainian Retirement Home. The retirement home is for Canadians of Ukrainian descent, some of who fled war in their country many decades ago.Marta Iwanek/The Globe and Mail

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