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It’s a long way from La Salle to Ukraine, but clothing, toiletries and school supplies collected here are helping to brighten the lives of children in two Ukrainian orphanages.
Janet Boychuk and her 16-year-old daughter Rowan are collecting supplies as part of the Boxes of Love project. They were planning on shipping the children’s and teens’ supplies earlier this week as part of a larger shipment headed to the Ivano-Frankivsk region in Ukraine.
Boychuk said they read a newspaper article about the Boxes of Love project five years ago. It was started by Dauphin, Man. resident Lindsay Rubeniuk who saw the need to support orphans while working on community development in that part of Ukraine. She started shipping supplies to Nadvirna Baby House in 2006, and was joined by another Dauphin resident Nicole Yunker. The women toured the orphanages in 2011 to establish connections and help ensure that money and supplies would get to the orphans.
"My daughter said, ‘We need to do something to help them’," Boychuk recalled.
While a student at La Salle School, Rowan organized her classmates to create birthday cards for the orphans so each would receive something special. She and Janet also began collecting school supplies, backpacks, clothing and toiletries.
According to information from Boxes of Love, over $150,000 in monetary and supply donations have been raised in the past 10 years. As well as the 45 children under four years who live in Nadvirna Baby House, support is also given to 110 children who live in the Internat orphanage for older children.
Boychuk said she tries to gather items for older children as the focus is typically on younger children. Backpacks filled with school supplies are usually shipped from Manitoba to Ukraine in May.
"There’s always something Canadian included," she said, noting that she hopes the orphans will be cheered by realizing that people from a distant country care about their welfare.
While the Christmas boxes are on their way, Boychuk said people can still make monetary donations year-round as shipping costs are high. She and Rowan are also willing to collect donated items to send in 2018.
For more information, see Boxes of Love Ukraine’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Boxes-of-Love-Ukraine-365973973455278/
Boychuk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org