Host families sought for Ukraine orphans this winter

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DEAR SUN SPOTS: Host Ukraine, a registered nonprofit organization dedicated to providing aid to orphans in Ukraine, is bringing 114 children from orphanages to the United States this winter to stay with host families. The organization is still in need of 20 host families for their program. From Dec. 16 to Jan. 13, those who host will provide housing and food as well as help children to feel the love of a family during the holiday season. Host Ukraine provides a strong support network and training before the children arrive and during their stay. Hosting fees are tax-deductible and Host Ukraine has grants available to offset the program cost. For more information on Host Ukraine or to obtain a hosting application, visit www.hostukraine.org or contact Colleen Holt Thompson at 513-280-0089 or at colleen@hostukraine.org.

— Colleen, no town

 ANSWER: Maine families can directly help some of these children by providing a respite from their difficult circumstances. The United Nations and international children’s rights groups have recently reported on the growing number of children and youth going into state-run orphanages and institutions in Ukraine, due to the ongoing war and economic collapse.

With a growing economic crisis and greater instability, in addition to deaths from ongoing fighting in the eastern part of Ukraine, orphanages there are seeing increases in the number of children abandoned to state care while their budgets for food, medicine, clothing and other essentials continue to decline or go unpaid. While the exact number of children in state care in Ukraine varies between government agencies, it is estimated between 85,000 and 200,000 and on the rise. Recent reports from UNICEF and Disability Rights International highlight the dangers the children face in state care.

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DEAR SUN SPOTS: In regards to the Oct. 23 letter from Heidi in Dryden looking for a home for her doll collection, there is a doll museum in Fryeburg.

— Wendy, no town

ANSWER: Indeed, there is a doll museum in Fryeburg! I contacted Sally Whitaker who oversees this amazing collection of dolls owned by the Fryeburg Historical Society. She’s quite interested in talking with Heidi about her dolls.

The museum features over 8,000 dolls donated by Hazel Currier, a longtime Fryeburg resident, and includes porcelain dolls dressed in Victorian gowns, Shirley Temple dolls, American Girl dolls, Kewpie dolls, Cabbage Patch dolls, dolls of historical and literary figures, rag dolls, wooden dolls, corn husk dolls, international dolls, and action figures. There’s also a vast number of collector Barbie dolls still in their boxes and hundreds of Barbies dressed in clothing designed and crocheted by Hazel. Although space is limited, Sally is open to discussing the possibility of adding to the collection.

The Currier Doll Museum is open May through October with hours in the coming spring set for Wednesdays and Thursdays. Sally said she will also open by appointment throughout the year. The website is www.currierdollmuseum.org. Sally can be contacted at Whitaker9244@roadrunner.com or 935-2118.

Use the QR code to go to Sun Spots online for additional information and links. This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can be emailed to sunspots@sunjournal.com, tweeted @SJ_SunSpots or posted on the Sun Journal Facebook page at facebook.com/Sun Journal. This column can also be read online at sunjournal.com/sunspots. We’ve joined Pinterest at pinterest.com/sj_sunspots.

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