COURTNEY McCLURE, The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: How are Canadian kids supporting Ukrainian children?
From the Stirling-Rawdon Township, Kim Jewell is working with the overseas ministries director Ed Dickson from Humanitarian Aid and Mission Society, ‘Loads of Love’ to show kids in Ukraine they are not alone.
She has also reached out on social media, explaining her idea and how people can participate. According to Ms. Jewell, the local Foodland is helping spread the word about the project as well.
Ms. Jewell has contacted local schools within her area, asking if any students are interested in writing letters to children living in Ukraine.
Mr. Dickson and his team will be returning to Ukraine with the letters at the end of May and will be delivering them by hand.
In 2016, Ms. Jewell was a part of a team made up of herself and 12 other Canadians who went to Ukraine. During their time there, their job was to deliver letters written by Canadian kids to Ukrainian kids.
“We saw how much these kids treasured these letters,” said Ms. Jewell.
When the war broke out in Ukraine, Ms. Jewell said it made her feel helpless, and so she felt like she needed to do something to help, somehow.
She said it was not possible to travel to Ukraine herself, right now, “I have two kids to think about,” she explained, “so this [writing letters] was the next best thing I could come up with.” Since Ms. Jewell and the overseas team at Loads of Love (LOL), have done a project like this before, she said, it seemed like they needed to do it again.
One of the major benefits of writing letters to some of the children living in Ukraine is encouragement. Writing letters is one of the ways Canadian citizens can show Ukrainians they are not alone.
“Canadians are awesome at caring,” said Ms. Jewell.
Mr. Dickson has been working with LOL since its establishment. Although he was born in Canada, he has also lived in Ukraine for just over 25 years. He has been the overseas director for Loads of Love for about 20 years.
According to Mr. Dickson, back in 1995, LOL would send overseas a few containers to people living in Ukraine, whereas volunteers hand-deliver the letters now.
LOL is a group made up of faithful volunteers which started as a small group. They grew, after the group bought a thrift store and a warehouse in Chatham, Ont. They have 40 volunteers based in Chatham and about 40 full-time staff members in Ukraine. The thrift store covers all of LOL’s administration costs. So, all donations go straight to the Ukrainian people.
LOL has delivered groceries to over 30,000 families in Ukraine since the war started. They are also working to help evacuate people from the eastern part of the country. To donate to LOL you can go online to their website at www.loadsoflove.org.
Mr. Dickson was in Ukraine two weeks after the war started, “I was amazed how happy everyone was to see me,” said Mr. Dickson. The citizens of Ukraine were also happy to know Canada was supporting, wanting to encourage, praying for, and thinking of them.