An organization that helps orphans flee the war in Ukraine is hosting a fundraising event in Gainesville at the end of the month to raise money for basic necessities needed for their operations.
World Children Resources, a Florida-based nonprofit started in 2014, will host the event at the Matheson History Museum on Sept. 24 from 7 to 9 p.m. It will feature an improv show from the Gainesville Improv Guild, music and a silent auction of local artwork. Food and beverages from places like Mildred’s Big City Food and Dorn’s Liquors will also be served.
Tickets to the event will be $15 at the door or $10 if paid in advance.
Laura Nemmers lives in Gainesville and is hosting the fundraiser. She hopes it will serve as a template for future fundraisers in different cities. Nemmers started volunteering for the organization in 2019 when her friend, who founded the fundraiser, asked her to join.
Initially, World Children Resources’ goal was to host orphans from Ukraine with families in the United States during the summer and the winter, giving them an opportunity to be immersed in familial environments, Nemmers said. However, when Russia invaded Ukraine in February, its goals shifted to moving orphans and refugees from Ukraine into countries like Poland and Germany.
“It’s kind of like the underground railroad,” she said, describing scenarios where orphans and evacuees from Ukraine are moved in the dead of night from safe house to safe house before ultimately crossing the border into Poland.
Nemmers said one of the organization’s main goals is getting kids who are aging out of Ukrainian orphanages outside of the country and under their protection.
World Children Resources has delivered over 300,000 pounds of food and medicine to people in need and has led close to 600 people away from the war in Ukraine and into safety, Nemmers said.