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Wabeno Area School District holds drive to support local family with relatives in Ukraine

Ukraine Flag

Students and staff of the Wabeno Area School District are raising money and awareness for Ukraine in support of a family with loved ones in the country.

On March 1, Tanya Arnold posted a picture of a family reunion on her Facebook page.

It shows her grandmother, mom, aunt and uncle, sister and cousins smiling from plastic patio chairs in front of their house in Ukraine.

The photo was taken a year ago.

“I want to have another family reunion with my family,” Arnold says.

But Arnold isn’t sure that will happen because, instead of smiling photos, the reports she gets from family members in Ukraine now are much darker.

“My aunt said on the first day, before the Russians entered their village, they shot missiles and destroyed half of their town. There were dead bodies of civilian people. They couldn’t pick them up to bury them. They were laying for several days just in the streets. It’s like a very, very hard thing to see, looking out your window,” Arnold says.

Arnold’s uncle lives in the town where Russians attacked a nuclear power plant.

Her great aunt was shot at while walking back from the grocery store.

Her parents are terrified.

“Any time at any moment, they can drop bombs on their heads,” she says. “It’s terrorizing people constantly, day and night.”

And Arnold, living on the other side of the world in Wabeno, Wisconsin with her husband and children, doesn’t know what to do.

So the Wabeno Area School District is stepping up.

To support Arnold, her family, and others in Ukraine, the district is holding a drive to collect non-perishable food, medical supplies, clothes and personal hygiene products.

Donations will be accepted this week and funneled through the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“It’s amazing to see how people come together to get things done,” says Tim Brauer, the elementary school principal. “The kids see that too, and I think it’s important that they see it.”

Students at the school are making blue and yellow bracelets to show support for their classmate, and they’re wearing the colors of the Ukrainian flag on Fridays.

Members of the community and community organizations are welcomed to join the effort.

For more information, call the elementary school office at 715-473-3633 ext. 4504.

For Arnold, this show of support matters.

“I know that there are so many good people around here and when I see this, it gives me hope,” she says.

Erin Gottsacker joined WXPR in December 2020. As a morning edition host and reporter, Erin reports on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.
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