A campaign is underway to raise money to ship much-needed emergency supplies to help people in Iowa’s sister state of Cherkasy Oblast in Ukraine.
Karla Weilbrenner McCollum, executive director of Iowa Sister States, says she’s been in contact with her counterparts in that war-torn nation and she’s urging Iowans to come to their aid.
“Our goal is starting out at $20,000, we hope to raise that,” Weilbrenner McCollum says. “We will purchase gloves, first aid kits, socks, they sent a list of items that they need, sleeping bags, things like that. We found a shipping company that will guarantee that we can get that directly to the government of Cherkasy.”
Located in central Ukraine, Cherkasy is rural and mostly agricultural, with many farmers growing corn and winter wheat. Weilbrenner McCollum says the people there are fearful and prepared to evacuate, if necessary, but for now are hunkering down.
“They do hear air raid sirens, more and more often,” Weilbrenner McCollum says. “They are hiding in cellars and bomb shelters, but the situation in Cherkasy and the region is controlled, due to the armed forces of Ukraine.” The funds will be going to help meet the immediate and practical needs of the people in Cherkasy, she says, and she trusts that generous Iowans will continue showing support during these difficult times.
“Many of our sister states, we’ve come to the aid of since 1960 with the first one, the hog lift to Japan and again throughout time when either we have met their needs or they have met our needs,” Weilbrenner McCollum says. “Japan came to our aid in the 1993 flood and that’s one great thing about these sister state relationships. It is a bond that we have with them.”
Cherkasy has been a Sister State of Iowa since 1996. To donate, visit: www.iowasisterstates.org