Wednesday, February 28, 2024

War in Ukraine: Do we make a difference?

Recent stories

Alison McEwen, Look First Op Shop, The Buloke Times

Victor Boltak writes from Ukraine: “… And your help (Ukraine Appeal) is valued very highly here.

“Recently I donated $275 USD for medicine which was taken yesterday to a so called ‘stabilization point’ – this is the first medical help point close to the battlefield where the wounded are delivered from the front lines and where military doctors try to give the first aid and stabilize the condition of the wounded so they could be further moved to the field hospital.

“We bought medicines for about a thousand dollars for them, and the quarter of the help is yours.

“I believe you all saved a dozen soldiers. Do not have pictures of it yet, but I believe I will send them to you soon.”

It is messages like that that keep you going as you bring the need before as many people as you have contact with. The War in Ukraine seems never-ending, as the Ukrainians endeavour to push the invaders back over their border.

Annual Report

The Annual Report of “Horizons – Local and Beyond”, presented to the annual meeting, this month, illustrated the effectiveness of the team effort. Both the Look First Op Shop and the Ukraine Appeal have been able to distribute the funds to variety of causes.

The Ukraine Appeal, through our contacts in Ukraine, has assisted individuals or contributed to bigger projects or more expensive items: for a recent war widow to receive baby formula; materials for renovations for a respite house for soldiers on leave; for family, father on frontline, mother caring for 3 children one receiving treatment for cancer, involving moving hundreds of kilometres to Kyiv; for flood victims from breach of the Nova Kakhouha Dam in Kherson Oblast – medicine, cleaning tools, pumps, electric leads, ladders, heaters, food; baby diapers; material support for a pastor who lost everything in the flood and is traumatised by heart attack, Russian occupation, flood and reaching safety (Kyiv); for cooking utensils and drinking containers for the War front; medication and first aid items for first aid post on frontline; for 1000 thermal plastic bags and heat sealer for cooked food for the frontline; materials and guillotine for cutting strips for making camouflage nets; low glow night vision device to retrieve injured soldiers from the trenches; specialised medical equipment, stop the haemorrhaging etc; propane portable gas stove for soldiers to cook food: for food and medicine for displaced people and children in the east of the country; for new born baby born safely despite the shelling and explosions outside.

Ukraine Appeal Continues: Income 9th March 2022 to 21st July, 2023, $40,288.80. Expediture sent to Ukraine, $37,043.86. Current balance, $3,244.94.

What’s New?

The Look First Op Shop enjoys the local Donaldians coming in to see what’s new on the racks and shelves, as well as welcoming the many travellers passing through. These folk have increased since Covid restrictions, but general trade in our main street has slowed with the increased budget costs for families. Excess clothes (unsold) are a concern for all Op Shops.

We have been able to connect with Kis Waste, an Op shop and exporter of secondhand clothes, based in Melton. Their truck will come every 5 weeks, after picking up excess clothes from Boort, Wycheproof and now Donald. This saves clothes and goods contributing to the Donald landfill!


The trade in furniture has continued. At times, pieces of furniture are sitting in the display for months and then they will disappear – sold. Many thanks to Bev Darcy for selling the furniture.

In the past month, furniture was picked up with the help of the Men’s Shed crew and placed in position in display area, and before prices could be placed on each item, they were all sold! This service is of significant value to the community.

“Horizons – Local and Beyond Inc” continues to support tertiary students in Ukraine.

Students who are studying full time are ineligible for call up in the army. We have only two students who are in this category. Unfortunately, we have lost our first ex-student on the frontline of the War. Our condolences are extended to Michael’s family. We are pleased to be supporting Tania Vezalo, who is completing her last year of medicine.


Local donations have been made to organisations in Donald or in Victoria. Some of them are Donald Friends and Neighbours, Donald Learning Group for Food Bank and Donald Art and Photography Show, Men’s Shed, Youth Group, ESA Auction, Donald P&A Society, Salvation Army Christmas Appeal, Donald Chamber of Commerce, Newcomers Night, The Good Feed, East Wimmera Health Service for Smart TV, VRI Hall and Corack Hall for renovations and equipment.

Further afield: Donations have gone to the Kalano Community After School Program, in Katherine, NT, for the cooking program: Compassion Child sponsorship – Yermia from Indonesia is now 13 years old: “Days for Girls” – hygiene items for girls in Africa so they can stay at school.

Volunteers are welcome to join the staff of the Look First Op Shop. Only qualification required is to be a “team player”.

The Buloke Times 15 August 2023

This article appeared in The Buloke Times, 15 August 2023.


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