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Fairfax County joins regional winter clothes donation drive for Ukraine

Flyer calls for help for Ukrainians (via Northern Virginia Regional Commission)

Northern Virginia is coming together to help Ukrainians struck by war.

Local leaders and community members, organized by the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, will launch a donation drive at the Fairfax County Government Center on Wednesday (March 23), collecting items through April 15 to send to refugees in Ukraine and Poland.

“Fairfax County has joined the rest of the world in watching Russia’s invasion of Ukraine bring violence and war to millions of innocent people,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in a statement.

The donations will be accepted at over 30 locations — from libraries to supervisors’ offices and more — starting Wednesday (March 23) as officials kick off the campaign. The event will be broadcast at 10 a.m. on the Fairfax County government’s Facebook page.

Requested items include new and gently used coats as well as new blankets, gloves, and pairs of sweat or heavy socks. More information about the drive, including a list of collection sites, can be found at 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 Bob 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,” 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.”

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