Ukraine needs help - What would you have done?

By Bob Ankrett

August 26th, 2022



My name is Bob Ankrett and I am the City Liaison and Museum Curator for the Royal Canadian Legion in Burlington Ontario. We have all read about and watched the terrible images of shocked civilians as they run for their lives to hopeful safety with only the items they can carry. Too often we see the blank faces of small children caught in this horror and wonder if they will ever laugh again.

What would you carry at such a time? Photos, clothing, food, a favourite toy for your child or something else?

Part of the soft knitted dolls

Burlington Legion member Deirdre thought the same thing. What could she do half a world away for these children? By the way, she likes to be called Dee as Tony her husband will tell you. They needed something to carry, small, colourful, soft with no sharp edges and easy to clean. There it was, a small colourful doll made of soft yarn about eight inches high. She began to knit. It took almost three days to make one doll. She made sure everyone was different. When it was time to load the plane to the Ukraine, she had knitted just over ninety dolls.

What would you have done?
I had trouble getting the dolls to the Ukraine as most people did not see them as a priority. Olena Beshley who works as a volunteer at the Holy Spirit Ukrainian Church saw the benefit to her people. By the time you read this, the dolls should be in the hands of mothers and children in Lviv Ukraine.

That in part is due to Olena packing and addressing them with other needed items. These items go to hospitals, refugees and soldiers.

The plane was arranged by Stephan Taras Sobolewski. I should mention this is the eighth plane load sent from Hamilton Airport. His company is called Taras Bulba Ukraine.

When I asked how the average person could help, she sent me a list which I will now share with you.

Items can be dropped off at the Holy Spirit Ukrainian Church at 15 St. Olga Street in Hamilton.

Their hours are Saturday 11am to 3pm, Tuesday and Thursday 10am to 4pm. Olena Beshley also gave me their website

Now her list.
Energy bars, canned tuna or salmon meat, instant oatmeal, dry fruits, dry baby food, new men’s socks 9-13, New men’s T shirts sm-2XL, male female hygiene products, batteries, sleeping bags, Ibuprofen 400mg, allergy medicine, Polysporin, first aid kits, pain relieving medicine (liquid or pills) and alcohol wipes.

This is only a partial list.

Deirdre, likes to be called Dee with a friend

You have heard my story of how a Burlington grandmother heard the call of children half a world away. The question is what can you do ?

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