S.O.N.G.’s recent return trip in September to the Poland/Ukraine border was very productive. At the Southside Refugee Home that we have been supporting, we found familiar faces that have been there since March, and we met some new children who have arrived since our last visit in May. One of the children named Nasar, who has muscular dystrophy, was recently evacuated from southern Ukraine with his mother, brother, and sister. He arrived with no leg braces, no back brace, and no wheelchair. Volunteers and local supporters of Southside raised one-third of the cost to purchase these custom fitted items, and a local charity offered to pay one third. We decided we would cover the remaining balance. Upon arriving at the Orthopedic Clinic to complete the purchase, we were told that too much time had passed since the order was placed and that the local charity could no longer cover one-third. S.O.N.G. covered the remaining balance to complete the purchase. These items are critical for Nasar to not only improve his level of functioning but to prevent further ongoing contracture.
Our recent collection drive for critically needed medical supplies resulted in us filling six suitcases full of medications, bandages, first aid kits, insulin, medicines, and related items to treat children with diabetes, and much more. Upon arrival in south Poland, we met with our Ukrainian contact who immediately took possession of the items and transported them to hospitals in Lviv and Kharkiv. The level of appreciation on their part was heartwarming and resulted in tears of joy and grateful hugs. Special thanks to all of you who donated these desperately needed supplies.
With the approach of winter, and the probability of continued energy concerns in Ukraine and Poland, S.O.N.G. began collecting and purchasing winter clothing and blankets for the children at Southside, and for the children in temporary Safe Havens in western Ukraine that we are supporting with our new partner, New Horizons for Children.
With the help of fellow Knights back home we were able to contact the Knights of Columbus in Poland and Ukraine and have begun to work together in providing all the children with new winter jackets. The Knights conduct a “Coats for Kids” drive every year around this time and distribute a new winter coat to any child in need free of charge.
Recently, we were contacted by two supporters that wanted to do something different to celebrate the birthdays of loved ones. One Family decided to have a Birthday Party for their young son, and instead of the usual gifts, they asked his friends and classmates to donate to our S.O.S. Ukraine Mission, as one of his classmates was from the Ukraine. This event raised over $400.00 for this project! Another Family wanted to celebrate a loved one’s 70th Birthday milestone, so they contacted us and offered to purchase 70 pairs of winter gloves! They bought the gloves at Ocean State Job Lot and spoke to the Manager who offered to process a matching gift card to S.O.N.G. for the $350.00 purchase! Great innovative fundraising that also sends a special message of how important giving is to those who have nothing and how we are all called to help others!
We finished off our visit to Southside the evening before we returned home with our usual parting meal of take out for all from McDonald’s in Rzeszow. Always a big hit!
You are GREAT and we are GRATEFUL! Warmest regards,
Michele & Wally Connor, Executive Directors Supporting
Orphans Nationally & Globally, Inc. (S.O.N.G.)