MCC comforters warm up winter in Ukraine

MCC’s Great Winter Warm-up in 2024 invites people to sew and donate 7,000 comforters by Feb. 29. Comforters bring warmth to people in Ukraine, for example, who are in the midst of winter without reliable electricity or heat.

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Recipients display their MCC comforters. MCC partner Association of Mennonite Brethren Churches of Ukraine (AMBCU) distributed MCC humanitarian assistance to socially and economically vulnerable people in the Zaporizhzhia region in October 2023.
Editor’s Note: *Names are shortened or withheld for security purposes.

Serhiy* has had to move three times in the last two years. Living in Nikopol, Ukraine, means facing constant bombardment by Russian military forces. The fear and danger of war make even the act of moving challenging for anyone, but Serhiy has additional barriers to navigate — he and his 12-year-old son are both blind. They couldn’t go far from Nikopol even if he wanted to, let alone carry all the necessary items to make the journey.

He can’t work to make more money, but his wife, who also has a visual impairment, is elsewhere in Ukraine working, leaving Serhiy and his son on their own with what support she can send them.

This time of year is especially tough for their family because the winter winds have kicked up, and staying warm at home has once again become a matter of life and death. Serhiy says that under the conditions of the conflict right now, having power and heat available is not always a guarantee.

“Today, winter has already arrived, and the heating has just been turned on in the apartment that we are renting with my son, but it is not working properly, so it is cool in the apartment,” he says. “And we also [hope] that a blackout does not occur, and my son and I do not freeze.”

Thanks to the committed support of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) donors, Serhiy has a way to help himself and his son stay warm this winter — brand-new MCC comforters.

“We thank God. He probably knows our thoughts and sent us good people with blankets from you,” Serhiy says. “They are very pleasant to the touch… they are also warm and, most importantly, they arrived [in time for winter.]”

Yana* also lives in Nikopol and had to move her family to a temporary home because their house was partially destroyed by Russian military attacks and it’s no longer safe to live in. She says they keep the heating off as long as possible to save on the expenses, and that her daughter especially loves the MCC comforter they received.

“She really liked them because of their interesting color patterns,” Yana says. “The comforters help to improve our living conditions at least a little during the cold season, and to be at least a little calmer, that my daughter is not cold and sleeps comfortably.”

Yana also had a message for the dedicated MCC volunteers who make it possible for comforters to be sent all over the world to people who need them.

“We were very pleased to hear that somewhere far away in the United States or in Canada, someone is thinking about us poor Ukrainians. I am sure that with every blanket, you give a piece of your heart and with every twist of thread, you share your kindness. We felt it. We thank you.”

Readers can help provide comforters to people affected by disaster and conflict around the world during MCC’s The Great Winter Warm-up in 2024. The Great Winter Warm-up challenges people to sew and donate 7,000 comforters before Feb. 29.

If sewing isn’t in your skill set, consider donating toward the cost of sending a comforter to someone in need.

Comforters are also welcome any time of year. No matter how you contribute or when you do, your donation will help people in need feel the warmth of God’s love.  Learn more here: mcc.org/the-great-winter-warm-up

By Jason Dueck, communications specialist for MCC Canada.

 

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