501 Collective Returns to Ukraine & Romania
501 Collective in Ukraine and Romania
501 is about people. And communities. And serving one another. And to do that, we must have sustainable, growing relationships.
On that note, 501 is headed back to Romania and Ukraine for the holidays!
Q&A with Tom Baker of 501 Collective:
Why is 501 Collective heading back to Romania & Ukraine?
We’re heading back to spend Christmas with the Ukrainian orphans. They have incredible caretakers and they’re safe, warm and fed, but the days can be long so we’ll be purchasing gifts for each one and hope to bring a bit of joy throughout the week to everyone we can!
What are the biggest changes since the last visit?
One of the biggest changes since we visited in August is the weather. It’s snowing, freezing and the winds make it very bitter to be outside. This adds to the boredom and need for activities for the kids. They’ve also more than doubled how many kids have been rescued from Ukraine, so they’re spread about in different buildings in northern Romania, anywhere we can find to safely house the kids!
What are the goals for this trip?
The goals for this trip is to spend more intimate time with the leaders of Fight for Freedom and those they serve. We regularly go with teams and get to serve our teams, which we love more than anything, but this will be a nice change to solely focus on our partners over in Romania and Ukraine for the week. We’re also taking this time as a quarterly-or-so chance to fly over and hug our friends and let them know we’re still there for them. Finally, we’ll jump in wherever needed (many hands make light work) to pack food bags, clean houses, etc, to give the volunteers a break.
Why and How do the 501 teams stay so connected when they return to the States?
We’re very intentional about keeping connected with our partners in Romania and Ukraine once we return back to the US. It’s very easy to be best friends 24/7 with everyone while you’re over there, but that gets historically difficult and can wear off over time if you’re not purposefully keeping in touch. So we connect our team members with their friends over there through WhatsApp, social media and other ways that they can see each other’s lives and keep in touch.
What does the future partnership between 501 / Romania / Ukraine look like?
Our future partnership will focus on war-relief after the invasion is over and we can rebuild and get the children back to either their families or orphanages in Ukraine. In the meantime, we’ll continue to support Fight for Freedom in everything they do, including 15,000+ meals per week packaged and brought into Ukraine, caring for the 200+ orphans in Romania, improving their existing buildings and infrastructure in Romania, and simply letting them know we’re family and behind them all the way.
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