Two-thirds of Kyiv’s residents have no heat due to Russian missiles taking out Ukrainian electricity systems, a pattern repeated throughout the country. Vladyslav Heraskevych, a member of Ukraine’s Skeleton team in Lake Placid, NY for the World Cup Bobsled-Skeleton Championships, said the best way for North Country residents to help Ukrainians during this difficult time is to send sleeping bags, winter hats, socks, gloves, and underwear.
Heraskevych added the caveat that sleeping bags and clothing donations must be dark in color to help protect Ukrainians from being seen by Russian drones and snipers, and they should be new or in good shape as it’s frigid this time of year. In addition, he said only new long underwear, top and bottoms, socks, hats, and gloves for men or women. He also said they needed funding for generators.
Consequently, the Keene Valley Congregational Church, working in cooperation with USA Luge, has launched a campaign “Got an extra sleeping bag?” seeking donations of sleeping bags and other requested clothing. Gear collected by January 4th will be taken to Newark, where it will be shipped by air to Ukraine, picked up by Heraskevych’s colleagues, and taken to distribution centers. Donations can be made to the Keene Valley Congregational Church (KVCC) with sleeping bags or Ukraine in the memo line.
The Keene Valley Congregation Church has an active Mission & Social Action Committee that recently led a successful drive, in partnership with the UCC churches of Elizabethtown and Lewis, to provide one hundred and thirteen Thanksgiving dinners to families assisted by Families First of Elizabethtown. Last spring, working in cooperation with the two UCC churches and Adirondack Friends of Refugees and immigrants, the church raised over $10,000 for the World Central Kitchen.
“Our church strongly sees such actions as one way to live out our commitment to love and, in a felt way, deepen our understanding of those suffering without safe homes and heat,” said Deborah Rice, chair of the KVCC’s Church Council.
“All I could think about yesterday with the snow and no electricity was that it wasn’t that cold, the outages were not long, and that nobody was bombing us,” said Katharine Preston, a member of the KVCC congregation. “My prayer, as always, is for the people of Ukraine.”
As we in the North County are familiar with staying warm in cold weather, who better to respond to Heraskevych’s request? Sleeping bags and other requested winter clothing can be dropped off at the church, Black Rooster Maple in Keene, and USA Luge in Lake Placid.
Black Rooster Maple, 10819 NY-9N Keene
USA Luge, 57 Church St., Lake Placid
Keene Valley Congregational Church, 1791 NY-73 (PO Box 27), Keene Valley, NY 12943
Contact Naj Wikoff: 518 312 5800 for more information.