LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Thousands of backpacks are heading to Ukrainian refugees.
Volunteers are were working hard at Louisville's Bowman Field Wednesday morning packing up boxes with backpacks that will be sent to Ukrainian refugees in Cologne, Germany.
As Ukrainian refugees flee their war-ravaged homeland, they wonder what is in store for them in their new life in a different region.
Some are fortunate enough to have any kind of backpack at all. Bill Vaughn and other pilots saw the need firsthand.
"We saw all of these young kids and their parents and mothers and grandmothers with nothing -- or maybe just a plastic bag," said Vaughn.
Now, six weeks after the idea sparked, more than 1,000 backpacks have already been delivered.
"They're confused, and in comes this backpack, and they, 'what's this?'" said Vaughn. "And you have to think, you know, the Ukrainians, they don't have a standard of living that a lot of Americans do, so for a child to open up a backpack and get a Barbie doll and a pocket thing and a Rubix Cube and a new water bottle and coloring books -- it's like Christmas to them."
Vaughn said the delighted reaction from the kids makes it all worth it.
"So, immediately, their face would change from that of despair and fear to 'Hey, what's this?' you know, 'Who gave me this?' and we always enjoy saying this backpack came from Americans and we love you."
More than 5 million Ukrainians have fled their home country since the Russians first invaded on Feb. 24.
Vaughn estimated that the majority of them are women and children.
"It's up to small groups like ours, the NGOs that are there that have their resources that can give something like a backpack or a piece of luggage to a refugee," he said.
And it's all to show those children that they are brave.
They are strong.
They are loved.
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