Members of a youth ministry at Grace Church in Gladstone, Michigan are letting Ukrainian refugee children know that they are still thought of and cared for in the aftermath of the Russian invasion. According to the Daily Press, the youth group’s effort to help the children included packing boxes of clothing, blankets, and other items that were donated by church members to send to an orphanage in Mariupol, Ukraine. Since Mariupol fell to Russian forces, the orphanage has been evacuated to Poland and has since settled in Germany where the children received their care packages.
The pastor of the student ministry at Grace Church, Jordan Pardee, discussed with the youth group the hardships facing the children in the orphanage, which he learned from a director of the orphanage, Tima who shared that there were 31 child residents from ages four to fifteen who were in need of clothing and other items. In response, the youth group began a collection of items to send to the orphanage. They gave empty boxes to churchgoers to fill with donations and return to the church. Pardee also gave out prayer cards with the pictures and first names of the children to remind church members of their needs. The youth group received much support from their congregation, including donations that reached over $6,300, and more donations from people outside of the church.
Among the items donated were small toys, writing utensils, and art supplies. Along with the packages sent to the orphanage, the youth group added a video they made sharing words of encouragement to the children. Pictures drawn by children in the Grace Kids ministry were also included in the shipment. In return, two little girls from the orphanage sent back a video of their own to express their gratitude and appreciation for the care packages they received.
As time goes on, it is important to remind the children that they are continuously thought of and prayed for as their lives have been uprooted since Russia’s invasion. Sending them care packages with essential items such as clothing lets them know they are cared about, and adding recreational items to those care packages helps children find a piece of happiness throughout their day. For the youth ministry at Grace Church, their efforts to do something for the children in need sets an example for others who can do the same and spread the love, hope, and faith to more people.