Ukraine war: Dorset volunteers pack bags for children

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Volunteers have started packing some of the 10,000 bags due to be sent to Ukrainian refugee children.

More than 240 people will spend the next few days at a warehouse in Dorchester in Dorset, filling backpacks with books, toys, hats, scarves, food, toothbrushes and other essentials.

The rucksacks will also contain letters from children in the UK.

Five lorries will transport the bags to countries bordering Ukraine with all items due to be delivered by Easter.

The Packed with Hope initiative is being led by publishers Gracie Cooper, of Little Toller Books in Beaminster, in Dorset, and Kevin Duffy, of Bluemoose Books in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.

Ms Cooper said almost 250 volunteers from across the UK had come forward to help pack the bags.

“It is incredible, it shows to me the very best of humanity. I am totally overwhelmed,” she said.

Ms Cooper said she came up with the initiative when her son came home from school and quizzed her about what was happening in Ukraine.

The backpacks will also contain books for children whose first language is not English.

“If it makes one child smile, feel a little bit better, then I feel I have achieved something,” Ms Cooper said.

The first lorry delivering food is expected to leave the UK on Monday with the others due to leave by 15 April.

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