During the Christmas holidays of 2018-2019, the United Ukrainian Relief Committee (UUARC), with the help of St. Nicholas, delivered Christmas presents to 1,240 children in Ukraine. These were the children of refugees, children without permanent shelters, children of soldiers who died or were wounded, and children of servicemen and contractors who served and are still serving in the east. The children received sweets, hygiene products, socks, gloves, blouses, shirts and other clothing items.
Some gifts were distributed to the children who live in the frontline villages of Donetsk Oblast such as Druzhba, Nelipivka, Sukha Balka, Kurdiumivka and Lebedynske. Gifts were also delivered to the children in the towns of Novhorodske, Pivnichne, Zalizne, Shcherbynivka and Sartana and to cities of Toretsk, Pokrovsk and Mariupol. Additionally, Christmas presents were given to children who live in the Chernihiv Oblast town of Ponornytsia and in Luhansk, whose parents were soldiers who died, were wounded, were in the National Guard or are recovering at the Central Military Hospital. From time to time, St. Nicholas needed help in distributing gifts and, thankfully, he was helped by the Military and Civilian Administration, the Department of Education and the Red Cross.
St. Nicholas also gifted 60 elderly people. Because they fought for an independent Ukraine, they were exiled and are in poor health. They received all the ingredients necessary for a Christmas Eve holy supper.
Here are a few excerpts from letters of appreciation which were sent to UUARC home office.
“Our heartfelt thanks for your continuous help and support. Your gifts, books and clothing are very precious to us because they come from people who live far from our country but understand hardships and difficulties of people who are displaced and are without a home. In recent years, UUARC has become a true friend and partner. Every day people express their gratitude to your organization. Your help is invaluable. It touches our hearts and strengthens our faith in the future.”
“We express our gratitude for the gifts to our children on the occasion of St. Nicholas Day. Your support of our students reflects your kindness and concern both now and in the future.”
“We are grateful to UUARC who in these difficult times for Ukraine tries to bring joy to our children, puts smiles on their faces and ignites a flame of hope in their hearts for a better future.”
“Thank you for not ignoring the problems of the residents of the city of Toretsk. Thank you for your support and your kind hearts.”
“St Nicholas Day is one of the most joyous and beloved holidays. Children everywhere wait impatiently for the arrival of St. Nicholas and for the gifts which he brings. How wonderful when their dreams can come true! Our sincere thanks to our benefactors for their understanding and support.”