Canada Comforts Society - January 2023 Newsletter

Thanks so much to all our volunteers across the country for your continuing support for Canada Comforts. You are a wonderful network and should feel proud that you are making a difference in the world. One major focus in 2022 was helping the Compassionate Resource Warehouse (CRW) to gather the needed items for their shipments to Ukraine. You all came through with great energy and willingness to donate so much. CRW sent out 21 containers in 2022, twelve of them to destinations in Poland for Ukraine and their refugees. As we look ahead to 2023, there are still so many places in the world that need assistance. In January, we will be sending to Malawi as well as Ukraine. We greatly appreciate your generosity and compassion.


UKRAINE MOBILE MEDICAL CLINIC


Here are some photos from the ribbon cutting ceremony for the first Ukraine Mobile Clinic conversion project. This mobile medical clinic contains an operating room, and can be moved to a disaster site and begin helping patients within hours. The second and third containers are in process of being converted. Thank you to all who financially supported this project. A few generous, caring Canadians paid for the containers, the transport, and conversion. All the building materials, doors, windows, and flooring were sent from Victoria. The electrical and respiratory materials were purchased in country. All the medical equipment and supplies were also sent inside the containers. Sincere thanks to all who have made these containers possible.


“MARK FROM MOLDOVA”
In early December, Mark Fashevsky visited the CRW to discuss winter needs with Dell, for his charity in Poland. He gave an interesting talk on his charity work over the years to the volunteers at CRW. Mark was born in Transnistria, which separated from Moldova in 1992, after a two year war. Mark was only 17 at the time, and remembers that war vividly.

In Moldova, he saw a need for orphans to be placed in proper homes, because conditions in the orphanages were very bad. He created a charity, Heart4Orphans, and worked to find families, match orphans, facilitate paperwork, train the foster parents, and has been doing great work there for many years. Canada Comforts, through the CRW, has supported this charity for almost 10 years.

When Russia went to war with Ukraine, Mark had several friends from Ukraine who had become refugees. He decided to set up an aid distribution center with them, in Poland, in a small town not far from Warsaw. This charity, Fundacja Kooperacja started out small, but grew very rapidly as aid began pouring in. At its peak, Mark was dealing with up to 250 containers arriving annually. He had to quickly expand his warehouse and trucking capacity. Mark creates specific loads of whatever is needed and sends his trucks to refugee centers in Poland and into Ukraine. He said that the border paperwork for transporting aid was initially very time consuming, but quickly became streamlined because so much was needed for Ukraine.

Mark says that the Ukrainians are fiercely united in their fight against Russia. They have scarce food, intermittent electricity and heat, and families scattered in many countries, but they won’t give up.

Four containers have gone out from the Compassionate Resource Warehouse to Warsaw, Poland in December, with dried food, medical supplies and warm clothing. Two of those containers went to support Mark’s charity. Another two will go in January, with more warm clothing and blankets and supplies to convert containers into more mobile medical clinics. The CRW has enough winter clothing for the January containers and almost enough blankets.
Mark certainly inspires us with his ability to see a problem, find a solution and to selflessly help so many people in need.


ODDS AND ENDS
If you sew dresses, please make them in size 4, 6 or 8 for school age girls. There have been fewer requests for size 2 dresses, and there are other options for young children’s clothing. Knitted washcloths should be made from pure cotton yarn. An acrylic yarn or blend is not as absorbent. We are in need of child size knitted slippers for orphanages.


Marilyn & Marlene

TOQUES FOR KIDS
Marlene has taken on the job of organizing Canada Comforts toques. When we have a surplus (or the warehouse is full), Marlene sends the toques to Marilyn’s Toques for Kids charity, which we know is doing a great service in northern Canada.

The following is an excerpt from an email to Canada Comforts from Marilyn Rapanos, distribution coordinator and loom knitter for toques for Kids.

Toques for Kids would like to thank the Canada Comforts Society very much for your generous donations of hats and mitts for students in schools all over BC, NWT, and Yukon.

Toques For Kids is a group of volunteers who knit toques to help to keep young heads warm in Northern Canada and beyond where temperatures can reach minus 30 to minus 40 degrees. The group, started by an avid knitter seven years ago, has been creating toques for needy students, ages 4-17, many of whom live in Northern areas of Canada, Yukon and NWT.

Our knitters enjoy knitting while using their creative talents to produce fun toques that, according to the teachers, “the kids love to wear”. We have also received donations of hats and gloves from as far away as Ontario and Nova Scotia.

There have been 1950 toques sent out so far this year, the most we have ever sent, thanks to Canada Comfort’s participation.
Your wonderful donation of toques and gloves is most appreciated by the volunteers and the grateful children who receive them.


Canada Comforts 2022 numbers
Baby Tops 1134, bags 2956, Bears 736, Bibs 1490, Diapers 150 dozen, Dresses 1115, Incontinent kits 267, Menstrual kits 580, Puppets 209, Receiving blankets 523, Shorts 2160, Slippers 109, Sweaters 525, and thousands of washcloths, toques, blankets and quilts! An amazing amount of work from all of you!


OUR MOTTO

In 1997, I had the privilege to meet Dr. Sydney Sparling. She was extremely interested in the work Canada Comforts was doing and took many bears and bags to some Uganda hospitals she went to visit.

On her return, Dr. Sparling came to the Main Workshop to tell us of some of her Uganda experiences. Sydney is a very dynamic lady and she had many touching stories to tell us.

While at the workshop, Sydney became more aware of just how we operate and how many of our team members are located across Canada. “Oh”, said Sydney, “There are many of you walking together”. I told her that I liked that concept and perhaps we could make up a motto on that theme. “It has already been done”, Sydney told me with a very bright twinkle in her eyes. That was when she told me the African proverb--“We can walk far when we walk together”.

Sydney went on to discuss the terribly long walks that many village women have to take daily for things like water and walking to and working in the fields. The proverb makes a great deal of sense to them.

When I discussed the proverb with many of our team, they liked the concept of all of us walking together to help ease the suffering in this old world of ours. So thanks to Dr. Sydney Sparling, we have our motto.

I want to thank each and every one of you for being on the Canada Comforts’ team and walking together.

Love to all my walking partners,
Sylvia Hatfield
(Founder of CCS)

We can walk far when we walk together…. African proverb


Canada Comforts Society is a registered Canadian charity run by volunteers.

Website: http://canadacomfortssociety.ca/

Roberta Graham, President 250 595 9902 canadacomfortssociety@shaw.ca

Sara Hatfield, Secretary/Treasurer 250 474 4614  cancoms@shaw.ca

Betty Guiney: Workshop Leader 250 478 3040 abguiney@yahoo.com

Sylvia Hatfield, Founder 250 474 4614 canadacomforts@shaw.ca