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‘Ray of Life’ kits from Orange City make their way to Ukraine

ORANGE CITY, I.A. (Dakota News Now) - As the war in Ukraine rages on, the Ukrainian people cling to what they have left, the support they receive and the hope that the fighting will someday end.

A recent shipment included the “Ray of Life” light kits and water filters put together by churches in the Midwest. Hearing from their contacts in Ukraine about their biggest delivery to date made for a great day.

“It was extremely emotional. So much has gone into this on both sides, from here and over in Ukraine, to get to the point where they would actually go from the person’s hands in Orange City or Petoskey, Michigan or Two Harbors, Minnesota and be passed to a Ukrainian,” said New Horizons Foundation Director Dave Nonnemacher. “It means so much.”

Nonnemacher saw the frontlines firsthand in July. His sources currently in the southeast part of the country said that things have been tough. The light kits and water filters have proven to be important in that region which has seen fighting ramp up since his last visit.

“It’s significantly more impacted now than it was then and there was significant impact from bombs back in July, but it’s even worse now. The school was bombed shortly after I had been there. It had been serving as a point of contact for humanitarian aid,” Nonnemacher explained.

Despite the conflict, Nonnemacher said that he has seen how resilient the Ukrainian people are.

“I can’t imagine what they’re living through on a daily basis,” Nonnemacher expressed. “I think if you look deep into those pictures, you can see on their faces and in their eyes, it’s tough.”

New Horizons and their partners on this project have no plans of slowing down the production of light kits anytime soon. Nonnemacher also said that he intends to travel back to an impacted zone in March.

“We’re full-bore. We’re not letting this go and as people are interested and as people step forward to help out with this, we’ll build lights until there’s no more lights fit to build and hopefully no more lights are needed,” Nonnemacher said. “It’s small groups of people doing really large things. It was the little organizations that were doing the heavy lifting and there’s some good people even in the community of Sioux Falls that are right on the ground over there. There’s a definite need. The need is not going away.”

Outside of the light kits and water filters, New Horizons and their partners were able to get their friend a new van for bringing in supplies, which they do multiple times a day when possible. They also were able to raise funds from groups around the United States to help pay for supplies.

“From [New] Jersey to California there have been people interested in this project and we very much are going to continue to do this,” Nonnemacher said. “[Ukrainians] have no electricity. You can hear generators running in the background. The need for that little green box is not going away. We just ordered 250 more light kits.”

In a few weeks, Nonnemacher said that they would be back in Orange City again to put together more Rays of Light. One shipment is currently moving across the Atlantic Ocean and another shipment is set to go out soon.

“It’s such a powerful experience for people to do this knowing that they’re going to get there. When we put them together in Orange City, I was still asking about shipping and we’ve got that figured out. Anything that we’re doing, it’s going to get there. Personally, I wish that we didn’t have to do this. I wish that we’d be doing something else, but as long as they’re needed we’ll continue to keep producing lights and connecting with people,” explained Nonnemacher.

If you’re interested in getting involved with helping Ukrainians, contact Dave at

Published: Jan. 20, 2024 at 7:11 PM EST.

Copyright 2024 KSFY. All rights reserved.

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