KANKAKEE – The Gift of God Street Church at 660 N. Fifth Ave. in Kankakee was able to make a large donation of backpacks and sleeping bags to the relief effort for Ukraine.
On Wednesday, Gift of God board member Chuck Carnes delivered about 1,000 backpacks and 100 sleeping bags to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Bradley.
The Bradley Church collected items and took them to a shipping warehouse where they will be sent to Poland.
From there they will be picked up and delivered to the Ukrainian border.
Carnes said about three weeks ago he got a call from Ellen Smith of Manteno, who along with her husband Richard delivers food for the church. She said the Roselle National Security Council had 1,000 backpacks he was going to throw away and asked if they could use them.
Carnes said they could definitely use them. He and Gift of God, Pastor Doug Black, drove to Roselle two weeks ago and picked up the backpacks. They distributed part of the backpacks to people in need who came to church. The backpacks would be filled with toiletries and other necessities for those in need.
Carnes said the items they were looking for on the St. Joseph’s Church donation site included backpacks and sleeping bags.
“So that kind of framework fits pretty well into our plan,” he said.
Carnes said the Gift of God Church had all 100 army sleeping bags in its attic.
“We found them while we were cleaning out the attic, trying to sort things out, and came across the sleeping bags,” he said. “And we knew [St. Joseph’s] collected sleeping bags for Ukraine. I spoke to Father Marcin Michalak at St. Joe’s, and he said, “Bring them. He said they could use sleeping bags and backpacks.
Black said he knew they would be put to good use.
“Some [Ukrainian] people are on the streets now,” he said. “Their homes are gone, blown away.”