Volunteers collect clothing, equipment for Ukraine

May 18, 1994|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Sun Staff Writer

The Maryland Association of Family and Community Education (MAFCE), formerly the statewide Homemakers' Club organization, has collected clothing, coats, shoes and medical supplies for students of the School for the Blind in the city of Kharkov, in Ukraine.

About 23 women folded, sorted and packed the materials Monday at the Brethren Service Center's distribution center in New Windsor, where items were bundled into 85-pound bales for shipping.

"This is representative of the whole state of Maryland. Every county is represented," said Colleen B. Nelson, MAFCE global issues coordinator. "We wanted to do something worthwhile, something we could see the result."

MAFCE members decided to undertake the collection effort during a meeting last fall, Mrs. Nelson said.

Tanya Walker, a native of Ukraine and the wife of former Maryland Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Robert L. Walker, helped MAFCE put its project in motion.

Mrs. Walker and her husband are moving to the former Soviet Union, where he is employed, said Helen Totura, a Carroll MAFCE member and vice president for programs in the state organization.

"She [Mrs. Walker] had several projects, and we chose this one because we are thinking about the International Year of the Family," Mrs. Totura said. "We wanted to do this one because children were involved.

"She was our main contact, and she knows what's needed so we know this stuff isn't just going to sit around," Mrs. Totura said.

The group's local districts began collecting items for the Ukrainian relief effort in December. They received monetary and material donations from members, merchants, civic organizations and citizens.

Mrs. Nelson said the Wal-Mart store in Cumberland donated $1,000 worth of new merchandise to the MAFCE chapter on the Eastern Shore, and a retiring doctor from Anne Arundel County donated supplies that included medicine, syringes, eye pads, bandages and surgical gloves and gowns.

"Some of the things are brand new and others are slightly used," Mrs. Totura said. "It's been well organized and well received. And we've had a good response. There is a definite need over there."

Loretta Wolf, director of material resources for the Brethren Service Center, said donations from local chapters will pay the costs of baling and shipping.

The boxes will be stored in a facility in Prince George's County until they can be sent overseas, Mrs. Totura said. "It will go with some of the [Maryland] Department of Agriculture things, when there is room for them," Mrs. Totura said. "That was part of the deal with [former] Secretary Walker."

MAFCE has conducted other international projects, such as sending puppets to schools in Africa and India to help teach children about dehydration, and sending goats to Haiti, Mrs. Totura said.

Kathleen Campanella, a Brethren Center spokeswoman, said the center facilitates shipments for 22 organizations in the state.

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