Packing love in a back alley

Grace’s Nutrition Market in Spring, Texas

One set of my maternal great grandparents migrated to the United States in 1875 from Ukraine. They moved here shortly after they had been married in Odesa. Today, there are Russian battleships off Odesa’s coast in the Black Sea.

A few days ago, I had seen a young Ukrainian couple on the local news collecting blankets and jackets and socks to send to refugees. I had made a mental note to stop by their business, Grace’s Nutrition Market, not far from where I live.

Today, I went in to give a contribution. That is the reason you are seeing the photo of the diapers. Local people have been dropping supplies by their shop in order to help the beleaguered Ukrainians who are trying to flee a war zone. Greeted with warmth and a smile by those at the shop, I made a donation and asked about the diapers. The woman helping me asked if I wanted to see the rest of the operation. Moments later we were walking through the shop and through a dimly lit storage area before she opened up the door to the back alley.

As we walked out into the bright Texas sunlight, I almost burst into tears. Without wanting to be melodramatic, it was a truly beautiful sight. About a dozen women of various ages were packing supplies around 10 folding tables for the victims of war. The unmistakable sound in the alley was of a vacuum-sealer as they were diligently and faithfully packaging blankets and coats in plastic to be put in a shipping container on its way to Poland to help in the war effort. It was an inspirational vision. I could barely hold back my tears.

I watched with heartfelt appreciation as they poured their love into the work. As we walked back through the shop, I told my new friend that I felt so helpless as I watched the news and saw the lines of tanks and buildings destroyed by bombs. She looked in my eyes and said, “Don’t forget to pray. Prayer can move mountains.” I would never argue with her about that. God bless those who are trying to make this a better world – especially those with the vacuum sealer in a back alley.

May Ukraine prevail.

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