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Now that winter has settled in, people in Ukraine need our help more than ever.

December 4, 2022
Elisabeth Sherwin -- ensherwin@gmail dot com

Mike Brown and I continue to send boxes to our friends in Kyiv, mainly Stas Potorocha and his extended family, friends, neighbors, including his aunt Tatiana. People in Davis might remember both Stas and Tatiana who visited Davis more than once both in connection with the Davis-Uman Sister City Project and as private translators.

We have sent almost 20 boxes to Kyiv through MEEST over the past year and all of the boxes have gotten through and have been delivered directly to Stas in his high-rise apartment in Kyiv. I find that amazing and wonderful -- that boxes containing food and medicine are delivered to his door in wartime. I also send boxes to his address for Tatiana who in turn shares the contents with the women who came to Davis some years ago on a visit designed to encourage them to run for office in Ukraine.

Brett Lee of Davis, who is leading Ukraine relief efforts locally, prefers to send money to international organizations for food and the like and that's effective, too. But my feeling is that Stas and other formerly middle-class people are not going to stand in food lines unless and until they are starving.

We got an email message from Stas' wife, Natasha, on Dec. 1: "The news hasn't been and isn't very good and optimistic. After the hit last week we had been without water for a day and without electricity for almost two days. Now we have electricity cuts every day -- sometimes once a day at least 7-8 hours long and sometimes 12 hours as it was today or 2 or 3 times a day for shorter periods of time. When there is no electricity, there is no internet. Sometimes we can't work at all," she wrote. Both Natasha and Stas are English teachers.

"The situation is expected to become better if there are no further attacks. But of course nobody can say that. There are rumours that Kyiv is being prepared for full evacuation; people are starting to panic, especially the elderly, because the temperature is below zero outside. Sometimes it is difficult to stay calm but we are doing our best," she added.

It is still possible to send packages directly to Stas and Natasha and the people they assist. But the shipping company MEEST has changed the way they ship packages and it does require some effort. Now, you have to open an account on the MEEST website. All items must be noted and weighed for customs. That's kind of a pain but do-able. I don't think they are too fussy, they just want to know what's there. Then we pack up the boxes, weigh them, and print out the labels. When we take the heavily taped boxes to FedEx, everything is done and ready to go. It's all tracked on MEEST so you can follow the progress. It's costing about $5 a pound to send packages.

Stas Potorocha's address is: Entuziastiv St., Building 25/1, Apt. 213, Kyiv, Ukraine, 02154. MEEST also needs his cell phone number, which is: 095 254 0809.

Photo of E;isabeth Sherwin wearing shirt from Ukraine We are sending hand-warmers, which cost about $25 for 40 pairs of hot hands. We are sending powdered soup mixes from Augason Farms -- it comes out to 25-30 servings for less than $20. We have sent tea candles so even if there is no electricity, a mug of hot soup can be made. Mike has sent battery powered/solar lights and battery packs for laptops. We have sent warm clothing. So as much as we can we are sending food, light, warmth.

I scored big this summer when I went to a garage sale and found a woman selling off her collection of more than 40 pristine beanie babies. She made me a sweet deal when she learned they were going to Ukraine. Yes! I scored again when I went to a thrift shop and asked the manager if I could take all of the discounted make-up off his hands. He said yes so a load of face powder, eye shadow, blush went to the Ukrainian ladies.

They really appreciate OTC medications of all types from antacids to aspirin. They need hand and body creams, whitening toothpaste, allergy meds, topical anti-itch and pain cream.

Other winners: instant coffee, teas. nuts of all kinds, trail mix. Snack bars with fruit and nuts. We have sent jars of Nutella, too but I don't think Nutella is big in Ukraine. In earlier shipments we sent rice, beans, canned meats, dried sausages, dried milk, dried eggs. And socks. Lots and lots of socks.

And it's not all one-way! Yesterday I got a box under somewhat mysterious circumstances from an unknown person in New Jersey that included two Ukrainian embroidered blouses and an elegant Ukrainian doll. Thank you.

-- Reach Elisabeth Sherwin at ensherwin@gmail.com

For More Information, Visit These Links:

  • www.meest.com -- Send food and packages to Ukraine
  • Sherwin on the Web: Support friends in Ukraine with food boxes...or stuffed animals
  • Uman Sister City project
  • Uman Sister City today 2022
  • Elisabeth Sherwin's 1998 trip to Ukraine -- September, 1998
  • Elisabeth Sherwin's 2000 trip to Ukraine -- September, 2000
    Other links of interest:
  • DramatizeMe -- Ukrainian channel trying to reach 10 Million subscribers: Life lessons and stories trying to change society
  • Istan Rozumny -- Film-maker and actor Istan Rozumny explains booming Ukrainian
  • Istan Rozumny -- Promotes Ukrainian film art industry to the world
  • Istan Rozumny -- Life in War-Torn Ukraine: Istan Rozumny Shares His Story
  • Istan Rozumny -- One of his best roles at DramatizeMe:
  • Istan Rozumny -- Another of his finest roles at DramatizeMe
  • Freedom, Love and Justice for Ukraine by Kent and Barry Gregson
  • Sunflower, a music/image video for Ukraine's National Flower by Tim Ellifritz

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