The City of Falls Church announced this week that it has joined neighboring jurisdictions in Northern Virginia to collect donations for Ukrainian refugees in Europe. F.C. Mayor David Tarter joined in a conference call yesterday morning with his counterparts from other regional jurisdictions to launch the effort.
Collection boxes in City Hall (300 Park Ave.), the Mary Riley Styles Public Library (120 N. Virginia Ave.), and the Community Center (223 Little Falls St.) will accept all sizes of the following until April 15: New/Gently Used Coats, New Blankets, New Pairs of Sweat Socks/Heavy Socks, New Pairs of Gloves.
The Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC) is managing the donation drive. The items will be shipped to Poland and then make their way to those in need in both Poland and Ukraine.
“In the past the residents and businesses of Northern Virginia have been extraordinarily generous to those people in need,” said NVRC Executive Director Robert Lazaro. “In 2013, the Region donated nearly 14 tons of blankets and coats to Syrian refugees who fled to Turkey as the result of violence in their home country. The need today is just as great.”
More information about the drive, including a list of collection sites, can be found at a NVRC website, helpukrainenova.org.
The items will be boxed together with help from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Oakton congregation. Paxton Companies, a North Springfield moving business, will then shrink wrap boxes and transport them to Wilmington, North Carolina.
A business that wishes to remain anonymous will ship the donations overseas, bringing the supplies to trucks in Antwerp and a non-governmental organization that has a supply chain on the ground, NVRC executive director Lazaro said.
The campaign came together after local elected leaders reached out to NVRC, seeking to replicate a similar effort by the area in 2013 to help Syrian refugees who fled a civil war that’s still continuing.
Fairfax County now hosts an annual blanket and coat drive for Syrian refugees.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24. The war has now killed thousands of people — including at least 902 civilians — destroyed cities, and threatened the country’s sovereignty.
The United Nations’ human migration agency has reported that over 3.4 million people in Ukraine have fled the country. Every minute, 55 more Ukrainian children become refugees, the United Nations Children’s Fund has estimated.
“Our residents don’t want to stand by — they want to help,” Fairfax Supervisors Board Chair Jeff McKay said. “As we uplift and offer support to our residents of Ukrainian descent here in the County, we can also aid in efforts abroad, sending much needed supplies to the millions of displaced Ukrainians taking refuge in Poland.”