Russell church collecting blankets for people of Ukraine

Russell church collecting blankets for people of Ukraine
Published: Nov. 4, 2022 at 1:40 PM EDT
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RUSSELL, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A church in Russell is collecting blankets for people living in Ukraine and with a deadline of November 15, Western Mass News has more on how you can help.

Ron Hess is taking charge of the western Massachusetts portion of a nationwide collection of blankets to help those in Ukraine. He is part of the Mennonite church that has a presence in Ukraine. This past June, Hess joined his fellow church members to help distribute food. While there, they saw a need for winter clothing since they shut off gas and electricity.

“There is a lot of need because there is a lot of immigrants. These people have lost their homes. In the country and out of the country, there is a lot of people who do not have homes and a lot of the people who do have homes have hid in their basements,” Hess explained.

He told Western Mass News that half of the children in Ukraine have been displaced and since they have been living in basements their blankets have gotten moldy.

“If anyone has a desire to bring warm blankets or coats. We are not looking for clothing. We don’t have room in containers for that, so whatever is warm bring it and we will get it there,” Hess added.

Western Mass News met a Connecticut resident who traveled to Russell to drop off his donations. He told us he was happy to do his part

“Me and my wife have too many blankets taking up too much space in our house, so I thought it was a good idea to being up some of the blankets,” said Jamie Whiting of Harwinton, CT.

The first shipment of blankets is on November 4 and by November 15, they will stop collecting donations. A total of four trailers will be shipped from western Massachusetts.

“We are taking them to Ohio and in Ohio, we are bundling that all up in bails, big bails, and putting them in containers that will be shipped,” Hess said.

Those containers will hold an estimated 5,000 blankets. Hess said they are gladly accepting donations and if anyone want to help cover the cost of shipping, checks can be made out to Pioneer Valley Mennonite Church.

“Go through your closets and if you have clutter like we do, it’s for a great cause, so yeah, bring them on down,” Whiting noted.

You can drop blankets off at trailers located at 655 Huntington Road in Russell, next door to Countryside Woodcraft.