A Beaverlodge teacher is looking for the Grande Prairie community help to fill backpacks for students in Ukraine. Backpacks for Hope organizer Bilyana Coburn says schools are not receiving support during wartime and are left to fend for themselves.
She adds there are many children who come from the eastern part of Ukraine with severe trauma and not much in terms of school items, and she hopes to be able to lift their spirits with donations.
“The mission of the project is to provide children with the school supplies and items that will bring them comfort and most of all, to show the kids that the world didn’t forget about them and that people from as far away as Canada care about them,” she says.
“They will also have something small to pay forward to give to someone else, which I think is the basis of our society as Canadians.”
Coburn says they’re looking for items including used or new backpacks, pencil cases, lunch boxes, small notebooks, used or new soft toys, along with pencils, pens, and markers. She adds she is hopeful the community can come together once again to help those in eastern Europe, like they did in the days and weeks following the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
“One thing I’ve learned is that Grande Prairie is an amazing community because it comes together so quickly for anyone in need,” she says.
“When I started the project right after the invasion began, it started quite fast, and we were able to raise more than $15,000 right off the bat.”
You can find more information on Backpacks of Hope here. Coburn says she hopes to have the backpacks shipped overseas no later than the end of May 2023.