Many of us our wondering how we can support the people of Ukraine at this terrible time. Independent publishers Bluemoose Books and Little Toller have come together to create a fundraising campaign that will directly support displaced children. In this blog post, Kevin Duffy from Bluemoose explains more.

It is so desperate and disheartening to see what is happening in Ukraine. We know we can’t stop the bombs or the shelling of innocents but as part of the world of publishing stories we wanted to try and do something and if we could provide a bag of hope, filled with children’s’ books, toys, a gift and if that bag brings a smile to one child’s face, then it will have been worth it..

And so we started Packed With Hope.

Together with Gracie Cooper from Littler Toller, based in Dorset, we decided to provide backpacks containing a selection of books, head torches, drinking bottles, notebooks, colouring pencils and other much-needed items and we aim to bring a little comfort and escape for the displaced children fleeing Ukraine.

Coordinated from Little Toller’s offices and bookshop in Beaminster, West Dorset, a JustGiving campaign is now underway to raise £75,000 to support the purchase of items and the distribution of 10,000 filled rucksacks from a warehouse in Dorset.

You can donate here and thank you very much, it means a lot.

As Gracie said: ‘My children are constantly asking: “Could this happen to us?” We can’t simply stand back and watch. The uprooting of families is heart breaking, and we have to be able to help in some way.’

At present we have 20K children’s books that have been donated by UK publishers and an international company are printing 10K copies of a dual language Ukrainian/English children’s book, written and illustrated by a Ukrainian author. We now have enough books, which is just brilliant and if you could support us by donating that would be grand. We are working with NGO’s on the ground in Poland and Romania and all our logistics and distribution is being coordinated by an army veteran.

Our backpacks are split into four different age ranges:

YELLOW BACKPACK 0-4 year olds | 7500 books, a bedtime story, a counting book, alphabet books, animal books, books without words, lift the flaps books, a colouring-in book.

BLUE BACKPACK 4-8 year olds | 7500 books, a bedtime story, simple fact books, colouring-in book, comfort story book, early reader books for a child learning English for the first time.

GREEN BACKPACK 8-12 year olds | 7500, bedtime story books, fact books, activity book, English language adventure story, comfort books, graphic novels, knowledge books

RED BACKPACK 12 -16 year olds | 7500 bedtime story books, fact books, adventure stories, European stories, graphic novels, non-fiction books. Small pocket sized dictionary

Gracie is mobilising a volunteer network in Dorset to help source, sort, pack and distribute the bags and we aim to start deliveries at the beginning of April.

‘Alongside the books,’ she adds, ‘we also need all sorts of other items, for both comfort and necessity, such as colouring books, notepads, head torches, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, puzzles, bags of marbles, insulated water bottles, warm hats, gloves and socks, pencil cases, stationary, hot-water bottles, and not forgetting the rucksacks themselves so volunteers can pack and send them overland to the countries bordering Ukraine, such as Poland or Romania.

The JustGiving campaign aims to raise funds to cover basic costs of warehousing and transportation, alongside items that are not donated so every bag can be packed full of useful and lovely things. ‘We know what we are doing is only the slightest of gestures. But what if something in that bag puts a smile on someone’s face? What if a six-year-old could fall asleep listening to a bedtime story? What if a thirteen-year-old could escape into a story? ‘

Thank you so much for reading and if you can support us, let people know what we’re trying to do or donate, that would be really appreciated. I know these are tough times and thank you again for your support.

Kevin Duffy

Bluemoose Books

 

If you would like to contact Gracie or myself, our email addresses are below,

Gracie Cooper: gracie@packedwithhope.org

Kevin Duffy: kevin@packedwithhope.org

Please contact Alex MacEwen for those wishing to donate items other than books Alex MacEwen: alex@packedwithhope.org | 07803 049790