A local aid organization is gathering donations this month for an orphanage in Eastern Europe, where children battle cold winters and malnutrition.
During the month of February, His Everlasting Love Prevails (HELP) will be collecting and sending supplies – including food and clothing /- to the Shevenko Home in Shevenko, Ukraine.
HELP, located at 2506 Zurich Dr. in Fort Collins, is working with three other humanitarian relief groups to provide Ukrainian orphans with winter and summer clothing, linens, mattresses and non-perishable food items, which are essential for the 800 orphans who have found comfort there.
“It’s still very cold there, and they’re running out of supplies,” said Jean Kaye-Wilson, founder and director of HELP. “If they head into spring with only what they have left, they won’t have any more food.”
HELP currently has 75 volunteers, including five CSU students, who are working to accrue as many supplies as the public will donate. Wilson says the project is of great importance to her because the orphans have no other way of getting the food and clothing they need.
“Jean tries to help anyone and everyone in the entire world,” said Micah Moses, 19, a HELP volunteer. “She has so much heart, and she tries to do everything she can for people in need.”
Brittany Goble, a sophomore natural resources recreation and tourism major at CSU, has been volunteering with HELP since the fall of 2006.
Goble said she believes HELP has a really good foundation and an awesome mission.
“Our goal is to show God’s love for people all over the world by helping those in need,” Goble said.
And every little bit helps.
“We act as the middle man; people donate supplies and we give them out to those in need,” said Mike Toon, 47, a HELP volunteer of two years. “When the need comes in, God supplies.”
HELP accepts nearly every type of donation, especially medical supplies, clothing, toys and food. And some local businesses are getting involved: Plato’s Closet, Once Upon a Child and The Vineyard Church are a few businesses that are donating food and clothing to the Ukraine project.
HELP, founded in 2000, was the brainchild of Jean Kaye-Wilson and her husband, Don, who started the operation after traveling to Romania and witnessing the dire conditions there.
“We can hardly comprehend what those places are like because we are so blessed in America,” Wilson said.
Wilson thought the organization would be a fairly small one; however, it has grown a great deal and keeps getting bigger. Last year, HELP was able to send 13 shipping containers with approximately 1,500 boxes of clothes, goods and medical supplies each, for a total of $5.2 million in aid, to 33 different countries.
The group also provides local and national support, as evidenced by their aid in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. But about 25 percent of the total number of shipments is redistributed within Larimer County, according to the HELP pamphlet.
HELP is accepting volunteers to help with the Ukraine project throughout the month of February, and they will also be starting two new projects – a trip to a Navajo Indian reservation in March and shipping a container to Israel in April – and will be accepting all possible donations.
“Go for your dreams,” Wilson said. “Even one person can make a difference.”
Staff writer Stephanie Gerlach can be reached at email@example.com.
Projects HELP will be working on:
February-Ukraine project for Shevenko Home
March-trip to Navajo reservation in Chinley, Ariz.
April- sending a container to Israel
2506 Zurich Drive, Unit 2
Fort Collins, CO 80524