LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Thousands of backpacks are heading for Ukrainian refugees.
Volunteers were hard at work at Bowman Field in Louisville on Wednesday morning packing boxes with backpacks that will be sent to Ukrainian refugees in Cologne, Germany.
As Ukrainian refugees flee their war-ravaged homeland, they wonder what awaits them in their new life in another region.
Some are lucky enough to have any type of backpack. Bill Vaughn and other pilots saw the need firsthand.
“We saw all these young children and their parents, mothers and grandmothers with nothing — or maybe just a plastic bag,” Vaughn said.
Now, six weeks after the idea took shape, more than 1,000 backpacks have already been delivered.
“They’re confused, and this backpack comes up, and they, ‘what is this?'” Vaughn said. “And you have to think, you know, Ukrainians, they don’t have the same standard of living as a lot of Americans, so for a kid to open a backpack and get a Barbie doll and a pocket thing and a Rubix Cube and a new water bottle and coloring books — it’s like Christmas for them.”
Vaughn said the kids’ thrilled reaction was worth it.
“So immediately their faces would change from one of desperation and fear to ‘Hey, what’s this? you know, ‘Who gave me this?’ and we always love to say this backpack is from the Americans and we love you.”
More than 5 million Ukrainians have fled their home country since the first Russian invasion on February 24.
Vaughn estimated that the majority of them are women and children.
“It’s up to small groups like ours, the NGOs that are there that have their resources that can give something like a backpack or a piece of luggage to a refugee,” he said.
And this is to show these children that they are brave.
They are strong.
They are loved.
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