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Sharing Light, Power With Ukraine

About 40 people came to First CRC to create Ray of Light kits for the people of Ukraine.
Rachel TeGrootenhuis

As part of its mission emphasis week this year, First Christian Reformed Church in Orange City, Iowa, felt the call to help the people of Ukraine and give light to communities experiencing displacement and power disruption. The congregation teamed up with Dave Nonnemacher, president of New Horizons Foundation–USA, a nonprofit organization that creates solar light kits and distributes them with food and other supplies in partnership with New Vision Renewable Energy.

On Wednesday, March 6, about 40 people from the church got together to build the lights as well as hear from Joel DeWit, executive director of Justice for All, another organization that provides food and clothing.

Each “Ray of Light” kit includes a solar panel with a charging port, lithium-ion batteries, three LED light strips, a USB-charging port, and the housing. Nonnemacher said he’s led similar workshops with 15 other churches. “I lead the group through a very simple process to assemble the kits and when the assembly is complete they are ready to be used.” When they reach Ukraine, they provide light and the ability to charge cell phones when other sources of electricity are not available.

Church member, deacon, and member of the mission emphasis committee Lee DeJager spoke to the congregation Sunday, March 10, about work that was done at a local food pantry and shared information about the light kits. He said, “It was a hands-on project we could feel a part of.” Volunteers also had the opportunity to write Bible verses and words of encouragement to the people of Ukraine on the light boxes.

“Light brings hope, and hope keeps people alive,” said Nonnemacher, on the value of sending these rechargeable lights to Ukraine. He said they will continue to construct and distribute lights “as long as there is a need.” About 300 kits have been sent to Ukraine, including the cities of Kyiv and Cherkasy, using Hand in Hand Logistics based in Isanti, Minn.

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