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Nonprofits team up to send emergency Epiphany gifts to Ukraine

On Friday, Jan. 6, Ukrainians celebrate the Epiphany, the third and final Christmas holiday in the country. This year, however, many will mark the occasion in the middle of a war, many without heat and electricity.

House of Ukraine president Mira Rubin said it's important for those Ukrainians to know that people in San Diego care about them. To show that care, the House of Ukraine is collecting supplies for Ukraine in a campaign called "Christmas Miracle."

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The Christmas Miracle Campaign is collecting small but priceless stocking stuffers like thermal blankets, thermal hand and feet warmers, emergency power banks, and flashlights for Ukrainians. These items can be helpful during power outages to keep warm and charge up phones.

"The Miracle Campaign is about sending a few items to Ukraine that are small but very valuable," Rubin said. "Some of them can actually save lives and limbs right because we have we have civilians that are losing limbs and frostbite right now is a big problem."

The House of Ukraine has partnered with a San Francisco-based nonprofit called Roots of Peace, which removes land mines and restores agricultural land in war-torn countries.

The CEO of Roots of Peace reached out to the House of Ukraine after hearing about war-wounded children recovering in San Diego. The Christmas Miracle Campaign is making collections in the children's honor.

Those children are 11-year-old Yana Stepanenko, who lost both of her legs in a missile attack in a train station in Ukraine, and 16-year-old Ivan Chaban, who lost his leg when a Russian tank attacked his family, killing his stepfather. Stepanenko's mother also lost a leg in that attack, and her grandmother was killed. Her father was killed fighting in the war.

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Stepanenko and Chaban are now both thriving in San Diego. Chaban recently had a second surgery.

The Christmas Miracle Campaign will run through Friday, Jan. 6.