It is hard to imagine a child going to school on the first day without a book bag. However, quite a few families in Transcarpathia, due to difficult life situations, cannot afford the most basic school supplies for their children. For the eighth year in a row, Caritas Ivano-Frankivs’k UGCC is coming to their rescue with the Striy Book Bag event. This year the event took place in two phases and helped over one hundred orphans, wards of the state, disabled children and children from disadvantaged families.
On August 18th, with the support of Mayor Victor Anushkevych, the first phase of the event was held at the Lyum’yer Cinema. At that time 60 children received their first school book bags filled with school supplies totalling 15,000 UAH.
On 26 August the second phase was held at the Caritas facilities. Fifty-nine children and their parents or guardians were assembled. They were entertained by story characters; they guessed riddles, sang songs about school, and played games. The most joy was seen on the children’s faces when they put on their first school book bag which was given to them during the event.
“Thanks to the support of local sponsors, patrons, parishioners of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, and the executive committee of the Ivano-Frankivs’k City Council, for the last seven years we have been able to make the first day of school an unforgettable event for 686 disadvantaged children,” explained Rev. Volodymyr Chorniy, Director of the Ivano-Frankivs’k Caritas. The book bags and the enclosed school supplies on average cost 350 UAH. Each book bag contained notebooks, a pencil case, book covers, coloured pencils, modelling clay, markers, paints, folders, coloured paper, and other school supplies.
“I am extremely grateful to Caritas for this assistance. For my family it is very important,” explains Olya, a mother of three. “Last year my disabled daughter received such a book bag from Caritas; this year my son Sashko received one. I don’t have enough money to buy all the necessary school supplies for all my children; I am left hoping for help from strangers.”
According to Rev. Volodymyr, donations made by UGCC parishioners, patrons, and sponsors enabled Caritas to make up school book bags totalling 14,877 UAH for 67 school children. Another 5,764.49 was spent to give disadvantaged pupils in 2-11th grades school supplies.
Caritas staff express their sincerest thanks to all those who made donations at special donation boxes, to all those who were not apathetic, but expressed concern for the children. May this charitable act be rewarded by God and become an example for others!