16 February 2008


We have no classes next week. For some of our staff that means a trip to Egypt. For others it's a chance to catch up on classwork. For me it means a chance to deliver items to orphanages. I've called V and she is delighted to have my "big car" at her disposal. I'm not sure where or when, but the promise of these visits lies before me. I am looking forward to it!

It made me think of all your kind offers of help...and your questions about how to do that. I've been mulling it over. Shipping things here is not very practical. Shipping fees are extremely high. Rachael sent over some small gifts for Katya's former groupmates. Thanks to the customs slip I can tell you that $40 worth of small toys cost $65 to ship. It was a lightweight box (I carried it home from school) about the size of...eight board games. And, my eBay experience tells me that clothes are heavier than one would suspect. A single child's dress costs about $10 to ship.

I am happy to shop for you here. If you'd like to paypal a donation, I can shop for either what you'd like or for what V says is needed and deliver it on one of our trips. And, I can mail you receipts for your purchases (or e-mail a scanned one if you'd rather). Or, one of the things I've not been able to find here are inexpensive hair baubles. Four barrettes can cost$12! Those would likely be lightweight... There are many more boys than girls in the orphanages, though. I'm not sure they'd be keen on hair baubles.

That's the best I can come up with right now that involves me personally. There are many organizations who are better able to offer outreach than I am. Star of the Sea is an outreach program for the homeless in St. Petersburg. I have a donation for them in the back of my car right now (clothes, pillows, dishes and food). They describe themselves:

We are a Russian noncommercial charitable organization funded in Moscow 1996. We organize for committed volunteers and professionals, Russian and non-Russian, to work on social and medical development programmes, especially for street children, the elderly and for families in difficult situations. We offer help to those in need regardless of their race, religion and cultural background.

To provide street children with social, psychological and medical care and rehabilitation and place them into a stable and healthy environment that enables them to re-enter, maintain, and progress in a healthy lifestyle.

Tax-deductible donations to Star of the Sea can be arranged through a Chicago office. I urge you to read their website.

Buckner runs another program whom I have seen working in the orphanages around St. Petersburg.

V works for an agency who provide orphanages with needed medicine, sanitary products and just...basic needs. The budget for orphanages in Leningradskaya Oblast this year is 84 roubles ($3.42)/day for teenagers and 80 roubles ($3.25)/day for children. There is no money whatsoever in the budget for medicines--not for the green topical treatment commonly used or for antibiotics or for pain relievers. None. The agency V works for tries to make up the difference. She refers to it various ways. I'll try to get more information for people who would like to donate that way.

An aside for Kimberley: At this point, I only go to the orphanages V works with. She doesn't work in the city of St. Petersburg. If I do visit Emery's baby home, I'll be sure to let you know!

I hope that helps to answer some of your questions. Please, if you do find a way to give, let us know.


Rachael said...

Too bad you couldn't get in on that trip to Egypt! Although, I'm sure you will have a wonderful week making the rounds with V and spreading cheer.

I'm planning on sending some things this summer (August) when my inlaws stop in St. Petersburg on their cruise, so compile a list for me please! I've already asked my MIL to carry an extra suitcase for me. Hopefully, I will have a good amt. in my Simple Wishes fund by then ready to funnel to the cause.

Enjoy your week off!!

The McCollum Adoption said...

Let me know whats easy for you I would LOVE to help out with things for the Kiddo's


Tricia said...

Very cool. I'm sure you will have a wonderful week and I look forward to hearing about it! It was great to meet you in real life and hear about your past visits.

I need to check if you have a link to your Paypal on your blog??!!

votemom said...

i'm praying.

ourboysourlives said...

Kate can I help pay for you to go to Glazov and bring things to Griffins baby home...it is a 17 hour train ride from Moscow and a 3 hours plane ride...hey, it would be out of St. Pete...seriously let us all know how we can help...enjoy this time away from school and spreading happiness