The students visiting from Hopkins’ sister city of Boryspil have done a lot since they traveled to Minnesota from Ukraine. They’ve seen the state’s landmarks, toured major businesses and shadowed local students at Hopkins schools.
And on Sunday, they loaded boxes into a shipping container.
The boxes weren’t just about manual labor, though. Hopkins nonprofit Children’s Chance is shipping 25,000 books to the Ukraine to help people there learn English. So the Boryspil students sang hymns and listened to the message at the Spirit of Hope United Methodist service in Golden Valley and then loaded 486 boxes into a cargo container destined for Kiev.
Children’s Chance has been delivering books to other countries since 1979. It’s made shipments to countries as wide-ranging as Jamaica, Belize and Liberia, said Peter Gresser, the organization’s president and founder. But it has never sent books to a country that used another alphabet.
The books will travel to the port city of Odessa then ship to a Kiev nonprofit. About 90 percent of them are children’s books in order to make it easier for people to learn English. The remaining books are for adults.
Shipping the books isn’t cheap. It cost $4,500 to send them to Odessa, Gresser said. But a donor helped with the costs, and the books are now bound for the Ukraine.
“I thought, ‘Bingo. We’re going to get this done for sure,’” he said.