In two weeks, Boyd Byelich of Rogers City will make another trip to Kraków, Poland and Ukraine.
He’s been collecting donations from around the Michigan and beyond that he sends and brings to the two countries to aid Ukrainian refugees displaced by the war. He started in march and has been overwhelmed with the amount of support he’s seen.
Byelich recently started a new campaign to collect shoeboxes and fill them with toys as we approach Christmas. He’s received a great response. “Take home message I got from the people filling the shoe box was how much joy it gave them to go out and find these little things and knowing that what what they’re touching and putting in these boxes will go to a child in Ukraine,” he said.
Byelich plans to stay for three weeks, giving out the gifts and hoping to make a meaningful impact on the lives of the refugees. Inside the shoeboxes are toys and other items like a flashlight and calculator, but it’s not just toys he’s bringing. He’s also been giving out thousands of clothing items. So much that his house is almost full to the brim with the inventory. “I just filled and labeled box number 200 this morning,” he said. “That’s a lot of items. I estimate that we have now sent 6,000 items of clothing to people that have been displaced from Ukraine into Poland.”
All of Byelich’s work led his picture being used on a Poland postage stamp that can be used to mail a first class letter anywhere in the country.
While the cattle farmer will be overseas for this Christmas, he believes it will still be very special. It’s not the first time he spent a holiday helping refugees. “I spent Easter there in a World Central Kitchen tent cooking kielbasa for eight hours and it was the best Easter of my life serving those people all day long,” he said. “So, I don’t see Christmas being any different.”
Byelich is still taking donations, but he is all set on clothes for a couple of weeks. However, he’s still able to take other useful items for the refugees. to find out how to donate, you can visit his One Box for Ukraine Facebook page or call him at 307-286-4807.