Fighting for the orphans of Ukraine

The Clantons of Grace Church of the Assemblies of God opens heart for those in need in war-torn Ukraine

As the Russian bombing continues in Ukraine, millions of refugees are fleeing the war-torn country. Efforts are underway to try to get hundreds of orphans, many with special needs, to safety and that effort is working in Zephyrhills.

Aid is coming from Zephyrhills where a local family, which consists of two children adopted from Ukraine a decade ago, is raising money and awareness of the dangers facing the children who have no families to cling to during this traumatic time

Jon Clanton, the pastor of Grace Church of the Assemblies of God and his wife Yvonne Clanton of Zephyrhills adopted Selah and Sarah from Ukraine in 2012 and know first-hand the struggles the orphans face on a daily basis.

When you add a deadly war where Russian bombs have already claimed the lives of hundreds of children, the orphans need assistance to get away from the violence.

“We’ve been able to help some of the orphans get out of the country or get to safer areas in the western part of the country,” Yvonne Clanton said. “We have so many more we need to relocate.”

The Clantons have been sponsoring a special needs child for the last eight years at the orphanage where their daughters once lived. Their fund-raising efforts and support aided that young girl’s relocation, along with 80 other Ukrainian children, to Spain and away from the bombings.

Their fundraising efforts have been coordinated through the Life2Orphans organization that is working around the clock to distribute donations, medical supplies, food, and all other support to orphans and the neediest in Ukraine.

“We grew to love Ukraine,” said Yvonne, who along with her husband, spent several a lot of time in the country, “We lived there for a bit and we got to know the people and loved the other children in the institution. They were very kind to us.”

The war hit the Clanton family hard this week when it was reported that one of the facilitators who assisted in their adoption was killed in the first wave of bombings.

The Clanton’s two Ukrainian children have disabilities at a level where they are not able to understand what is going on in their home country. Fortunately, they are living a peaceful and loving life in Zephyrhills.

“If the girls were still in the Ukraine, they would be dealing with daily bombings. There is a lack of food, and water. It is a complicated life to begin with and to add the fighting on top of it. It is non-stop daily bombing throughout most of the country. It is terrible.”

Life2Orphans works with organizations throughout Ukraine and has contacts through 300 Churches spread out over the country and beyond to help the vulnerable orphans, children, families, and the rest of the neediest people in Ukraine.

Those wishing to assist in supporting the relocation of the Ukrainian orphans can go to Life2Orphans.org/war-relief or checks are being accepted at Grace Church of the Assemblies of God, 7060 Berry Rd., Zephyrhills.

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