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HomeNewsFill-a-box campaign sends 295 care packages to lift spirits in Ukraine

Fill-a-box campaign sends 295 care packages to lift spirits in Ukraine

What started as an idea by a local grade five teacher has seen incredible community support, filling 295 boxes to send overseas to Ukraine. The fill-a-box campaign was started by St. Catherine Catholic School teacher Bilyana Coburn. Coburn says that the campaign was rolled out on November 1st, and from the beginning saw support from local businesses with support being seen right away with companies donating the boxes.

“The box itself is this really nice sized, almost like a shoe box maybe a little bit bigger, and we asked people to put items in there that would bring some light, some joy to whoever would receive the box,” Coburn says. “And most of the things you would find in the box are some gloves and shirts and toys, lots of candy, school supplies.”

Coburn says she set up the boxes at the back of her classroom for her students to decorate the boxes. She explains that the decorations ranged from pictures to well wishes, with her students even using online language translators to write “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Holidays,” and “Pray for Peace.” St. Catherine’s school made 125 boxes, the Troyanda Dance Group filled 45 boxes, and the local MNP office filled 25 boxes after doing a fundraiser among their employees. On Friday though Coburn says to her surprise she received a call from the principal of St. Mary Catholic School in Beaverlodge, saying they would like to help, with St. Mary’s filling in 100 boxes that were delivered to St. Catherine Monday morning.

“It is tough times here, it is tough times there, and for people to share whatever they have with someone in need I’m speechless about that.”

Ukrainian Christmas Boxes
Photo by – Bilyana Coburn
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Two types of boxes were filled, the first type is for the elderly who live in a home care facility in Novuy Yaruchiv, in the Lviv area. The second type will go to an Orphanage for Children with disabilities in Saviv, in the Zolichiv Region, along with a school in the Zapytiv, which is also in the Lviv area.

“A school that usually has about 500 kids, opened their doors and their classrooms became shelters,” Coburn says. “When school started they were balancing between being a school and then also now a centre that is helping people.”

She adds there will also be packages delivered to various families in Charnivci by a social worker.

All the boxes were put into 25 large home depot boxes and are going to be shipped off to Ukraine from Edmonton. Coburn says that the hope is the boxes will reach Ukraine before or by January 6th, which is Ukrainian Christmas, to bring some New Years’ and Christmas cheer.

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