Everyone can become a magician. For the fourth consecutive year, volunteers of Saint Nicholas’ Reindeer charity project are delivering presents for upcoming winter holidays to the kids from the so-called “gray zone” near the frontline in the east of Ukraine.
The project was started in 2016 when for the first time they brought toys, clothes, books and sweets to the primary and secondary schools and orphanages in the small settlements in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
According to Yevheniia Levinshtein, the event organizer and coordinator, this year the project format has been changed. “Last year, our team received about 3,300 letters with various wishes and we were not able to cover all the kids’ dreams. So, this time, we have collected letters in small towns and villages which are located on the inter-entity boundary line since the end of October. We have already visited Krymske, Svitlychne, Rodyna, Zolote 3 and 4, Katerynivka, Stakhanovets and other villages and towns of the Luhansk region,” Yevheniia notes.
On December 7, the volunteers are on the way again. This is their last trip when they collect letters with wishes. They are going to visit the remotest corners of Donbas such as Artema, Teple and a tiny village Voytove, Stanichne-Luhansk district, the Luhansk region, where kids are also awaiting presents from Saint Nicolas.
All children’s wishes are filed into the database. Anyone can become a magician and fulfill a kid’s dream. The lines highlighted in blue mean that a magic man or a fairy is going to buy a present for this child, green lines mean that the presents have already arrived at the volunteers’ center and are ready to be delivered to those who are waiting for a miracle. All white lines show the children that are still waiting for their presents.
Various companies have been helping the project since it began operating. For example, MobiDev IT company is sponsoring kids from Muratove and Mayorsk with presents this year. Waverley, a multinational software engineering, and Better Me, Health and Fitness apps developing companies, also help to fulfill kids’ wishes. Last year, Sun Oil company started providing volunteers with petrol and this year they are going to support them even more.
Overseas givers from Mexico and Canada have already donated to the project. For the first time, London joined in.
According to Inna Achkasova, the project coordinator, volunteers are going to collect up to 1,400 presents this year. About 200 of them are ready to be delivered, and about 450 people are going to buy presents and fulfill children’s’ dreams.
Mrs. Levinshtein notes that about 1,000 children will get sweet presents this year. Volunteers are also going to organize holiday parties for young kids.
Inna mentions that this year children have asked for various presents: from the Ukrainian flag, trips to Vinnytsia and Lviv to all sorts of toys and cosmetics. They also expect to get kigurumi as kids need some warmth and coziness. A magic glass ball, guitar and a camera are in kids’ wishing list too.
Others just want to get many sweets and mandarins. The kid who ordered mandarins touched people’s hearts and two people, one overseas, sent money to buy lots of mandarins that will be enough to treat children of the whole village.
Yevheniia recalls that one girl whose dream is to become a painter will get a whole set for painting including special paints and canvases.
During January 2020, volunteers are going to deliver presents to the remotest corners of Donbas and are planning to make six or seven trips until Epiphany which is celebrated on January 19.
According to Yevheniia Levinshtein, the project aims to build a bridge between a person who gives a present to a child who is looking forward to receiving it. Everyone could feel like a magician to fulfill someone’s dream!
Text: Natalia Ivanova