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Ukrainian women update their closets with a free Calgary shopping spree

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New Calgarians were offered a free shopping spree Saturday in an event put on for Ukrainian refugees. 

Kristen’s Consignment Store and the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS) hosted 140 women, who were able to take home five pieces of clothing each. 

Kristen Klok said the idea came to her last month as she was sorting through her shop inventory. 

"(The women) have been through so much and I know this is just something little that we can do to help brighten their day," she said. We have maybe 800 pieces of clothing, shoes, purses and jewelry. It's pretty special."

Many newcomers cannot afford to purchase new clothing and are without options -- especially when it comes to business attire suitable for job interviews or important events. 

The event tried to combat the problem by offering two rooms full of new options. 

Six months after fleeing Kyiv, Viktoria Litviakova says the afternoon stands out as a Canadian highlight. 

"(Saturday) was maybe the best day since I came here," she told CTV News. 

And it wasn't just about shopping. 

Litviakova says the event also offered a great opportunity to socialize. 

"It's very important for me, my life and my family to meet people from my country to speak my native language and to discuss how people cope with some problems here," she said. "This is amazing." 

"We didn't want to make it just for picking up clothing and going," CCIS Ukrainian arrivals project manager Marianna Solomchak said. "We wanted to make it more like a welcoming newcomers and getting to know each other and seeing how we can assist them better as a community event."

CCIS is a non-profit organization that offers settlement and integration support to immigrants and refugees in Southern Alberta. 

Solomchak promises more settling events are on the way for Ukrainian families.

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