Terrified and dazed after days traveling to safety, traumatized Ukrainian children finally had a reason to smile – when they received blankets knitted by kind Sun on Sunday readers.
A total of 500 was donated after you responded to our Knit A Kid A Blanket campaign.
thousands of refugees seek refuge in the southern city of Cahul, and the blankets knitted by our kindhearted readers offer comfort to children who have witnessed so much suffering since the Russians invaded.
Brad Moore, Managing Director of Operation Orphan, said: “We walked into the first refugee center and the children had big smiles. They all asked, “Are these blankets made by machine or by hand?”.
“When we said ‘by hand,’ everyone said, ‘That’s amazing.’
“The kids chose their blankets and then had fun – tossing them around and wrapping themselves in them to keep warm. The joy they brought is incredible.
“One lady said to me, ‘You’ve made these kids smile, and because the kids are smiling, the parents are smiling too — for the first time in days.’
“It’s so nice to see this injection of fun and color in you refugee center. The children beamed and skipped down the hall.
“I can’t thank your readers enough for what you’ve done for these people. They literally save lives.”
Operation Orphan distributed relief supplies and blankets to 48 children and 61 adults sleeping in two temporary refugee shelters in Cahul in one day last week alone.
The donations – which also included nappies, hygiene and personal care products, clothing and sweets donated by people across the UK – provided a lifeline as temperatures plummeted to -5C at night.
They have also been a welcome boost to local Moldovans who are already struggling to make ends meet in the poverty-stricken country and are doing their best to help refugees pouring over their border.
Brad’s team plans to distribute blankets around the area in the coming weeks.
And we are now calling for knitting again to help save more lives – and to send the message that the people of Ukraine have not been forgotten.
Brad added: “I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep going.
“These blankets give people who have witnessed so much horror something to hold on to – and I promise you, they give life.”
“The majority of people in the refugee centers in Moldova are women and children who are not interested in going to Western Europe, they want to go home.
“They only have the clothes on their backs and a few suitcases, whatever they can carry to help them get through this terrible time. Many of these people had to cross the border in freezing temperatures after being deposed by men who wanted to go back to war.
“They were completely dazed and heartbroken at having to say goodbye, not knowing if they would ever see their husbands and fathers again.
I cannot thank your readers enough for what you have done for these people. They literally save lives.
Brad Moore, CEO of Operation Orphan
“But they were also so relieved to be safe and away from the fighting.
“There was a lady I asked, ‘How are you?’ She immediately replied, “I’m safe.”
“Most of the refugees here come from the Ukrainian cities of Odessa, Kyiv and Mykolaiv.
“Those from Mykolaiv have seen many fights and are quite shocked. It’s a mass movement of people and there’s a lot of pain beneath the surface.
“If we ask them, ‘Where are you going?’ Most say, “I want to go home.”
“That’s the reputation and very few want the opportunity to work in the West.
“There is a deep desire for home and to be reunited with the men they left behind.”
Since we launched our Knit A Kid A Blanket campaign with knitting group Loving Hands in 2016, around 3,000 blankets have been donated to Operation Orphan’s Nottingham headquarters.
We challenged you to knit 6ft x 4ft washable blankets in any color combination and you responded in droves.
More recently, your blankets have been given to hurricane survivors in Antigua in the Caribbean and Zimbabwe in Africa, to orphans in Eastern Europe – long before Russia invaded Ukraine – and to dozens of needy children in the UK.
On Tuesday, our associates helped Brad load another van before the next relief mission to Moldova—a journey that can take up to five days.
Brad said: “These are people who have next to nothing at the best of times as Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe.
“But they are pulling together to offer the refugees everything they can afford.
“The other day I was told about a woman who earns 100 euros a month and she came and handed over 10 euros and some bread.
“Things like this remind you of how many people are doing everything they can to help – and your readers can help by knitting more blankets.”
- Please send blankets to: Operation Orphan, The Sun on Sunday’s Knit A Kid A Blanket Appeal, 143 Attenborough Lane, Attenborough, Nottingham NG9 6AA.
Help those fleeing conflict with The Sun’s Ukraine Fund
IMAGES of women and children fleeing the horrors of Ukraine’s devastated cities have moved Sun readers to tears.
Many of you want to help the five million people caught in the chaos – and now you can by donating to The Sun’s Ukraine fund.
Give as little as £3 or as much as you can afford and every penny will be donated to the local Red Cross to help women, children, the elderly, sick and wounded.
donate here to help The Sun’s fund
Or SMS to 70141 from British mobile phones
£3 — SMS SUN£3
£5 — SMS SUN£5
£10 — SMS SUN£10
SMS cost your chosen donation amount (e.g. £5) + 1 standard message (we get 100%). The full terms and conditions can be found at redcross.org.uk/mobile
The Ukraine Crisis Appeal supports people in areas currently affected by the crisis and those who may be affected by the crisis in the future.
In the unlikely event that the British Red Cross raises more money than can be reasonably and efficiently spent, any excess funds will be used to support it prepare for and respond to other humanitarian emergencies around the world.
For more information visit https://donate.redcross.org.uk/appeal/disaster-fund
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5037847/ukraine-child-refugees-blanket-donations/ Traumatized Ukrainian children smile after receiving knitted blankets from kind Sun readers