Serhiy has had to move three times in two years. Living in Nikopol, Ukraine, means facing constant bombardment by Russian military forces. The fear and danger of war make even the act of moving challenging for anyone, but Serhiy has additional barriers to navigate: He and his 12-year-old son are both blind. They couldn’t go far from Nikopol even if he wanted to.
He can’t work to make more money, but his wife, who also has a visual impairment, is elsewhere in Ukraine working, leaving Serhiy and his son on their own with what support she can send.
This time of year is especially tough for their family because the winter winds have kicked up, and staying warm at home has once again become a matter of life and death. Serhiy says that under the conditions of the conflict right now, having power and heat is not always a guarantee.
“The heating has just been turned on in the apartment that we are renting with my son, but it is not working properly, so it is cool in the apartment,” he said. “And we also [hope] that a blackout does not occur, and my son and I do not freeze.”
But thanks to Mennonite Central Committee donors, Serhiy has a way to help himself and his son stay warm this winter — new MCC comforters.
“We thank God. He probably knows our thoughts and sent us good people with blankets from you,” he said. “They are very pleasant to the touch. . . . They are also warm and, most importantly, they arrived [in time for winter].”
Yana also lives in nikopol and had to move her family to a temporary home because their house was partially destroyed by Russian military attacks, and it’s no longer safe to live in. She said they keep the heating off as long as possible to save on the expenses, and her daughter especially loves the MCC comforter they received.
“She really liked them because of their interesting color patterns,” Yana said. “The comforters help to improve our living conditions at least a little during the cold season, and to be at least a little calmer, that my daughter is not cold and sleeps comfortably.”
Yana had a message for MCC volunteers: “We were very pleased to hear that somewhere far away in the United States or in Canada, someone is thinking about us poor Ukrainians. I am sure that with every blanket you give a piece of your heart and with every twist of thread you share your kindness.”
MCC supporters can help provide comforters to people affected by disaster and conflict around the world during MCC’s Great Winter Warm-up, which challenges people to sew and donate 7,000 comforters before Feb. 29. Volunteers can sew in their own homes or form a group to sew with.
Those who don’t sew can consider donating toward the cost of sending a comforter to someone in need.
More information is at mcc.org/the-great-winter-warm-up.
Names in this article have been shortened or withheld for security purposes.