Providing Hospitality and Comfort to Newly Arrived Refugees from Ukraine

Published on : 7/18/22
  • In the last few months, three communities across Canada have welcomed hundreds of Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war in their home countries.  

    One of the federally chartered flights arrived in Winnipeg in mid-May, bringing hundreds of passengers to the Best Western Plus Winnipeg Airport Hotel, where Sodexo Canada provides food services and hospitality. 

    Since the end of April 2022, Sodexo has been providing services to the Ukrainian Refugee Reception Centre operating at the hotel. The arrival of the chartered flight is the first major influx of people for the reception center. The Sodexo team welcomed the passengers with a large reception in the hotel's Greenwood Ballroom. We provided 350 lunch bags, beverages and cookies to the newly arrived guests, the volunteers and the reception centre workers.  

    The Sodexo-run meeting space housing the Ukrainian Refugee Reception Center and the Manitoba Emergency Social Services provides a wealth of services, including work visas, coronavirus vaccinations, connections with housing and translation assistance.  

    As the prairie provinces have a large Ukrainian heritage population, many of the refugees have been able to relocate elsewhere to settle with family and friends.  

    There are currently around 350 Ukrainian guests staying at the hotel. Our hospitality team provides upwards of 320 meals three times a day to the guests and refugee service providers.


    From Guests to Team Members

    Andriy, who recently joined Sodexo's team at the hotel, came from Ukraine, where he served as a chef on merchant ships. He was in India when the war began and wasn't able to go home to his wife or son. His family is in Lviv, where they found shelter after their home and vehicles were destroyed. Andriy is now part of the hotel kitchen's culinary team.  

    Nataliia joined the team as a server and our Sodexo on-site translator. She plans on sending money back to her family currently living in Warsaw, and assist in bringing them the join her, here in Canada. Nataliia is interested in furthering her career in food and beverage.


    Cherry Ann Chandler, Resident District Manager, Corporate Services, says: 

    When the Manitoba Emergency Social Services approached the hotel to host the Ukrainian Refugee Reception Centre, I knew our team would be on board to help. 

    Many of the front of house staff have brought donations, especially toys for the children. 

    A Team Ready to Mobilize 

    This isn’t the first emergency service the Sodexo team has provided.  

    In the past, we’ve mobilized and adapted quickly to support Best Western Plus in welcoming the Government of Nunavut Medical hub during the height of the pandemic, as well as the Canadian Red Cross in the event of floods or fire evacuations. Now, we provide support to the newly arrived refugees looking for a home away from home.  

    Left-Right: Nataliia Skoryk, Jeffrey Chow, Kyle Torres, Holly Kowalchuk and Alexandra Cepero

    Learn more about Sodexo Group and the Stop Hunger Foundation’s global initiative with the United Nations World Food Programme to match employee donations and help those affected by the conflict in Ukraine.