A Richmond resident has just returned home after spending a week delivering packages to children.
A vacation means rest and relaxation for most people, but not for Richmondite Amy Hung.
Hung has just returned home after a week of volunteering at the Polish-Ukrainian border.
“It was such a rewarding trip, and it was a huge blessing for me to meet people there and meet their needs,” Hung said.
She told the Richmond News that the past week has changed her in ways she never expected and left her with lasting memories.
Hung had worked as a volunteer with an international humanitarian team under Operation Mobilization (OM), a global Christian organization with thousands of offices around the world. OM has been calling for the needs of Ukrainian refugees to be met since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.
The place where Hung volunteered is called Chelm – a town in southeastern Poland – two and a half hours by train from Warsaw, the capital of Poland.
On the first day, Hung joined other volunteers in distributing gift boxes and toys to children who arrived at the border in buses and vans.
For these children, these gift packages symbolize hope and love, Hung explained.
“Inside the gift boxes we have toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, chocolates, snacks and juice boxes. We have three different packages to meet the needs of little girls, boys and infants,” Hung said.
Along with handing out packages, Hung also spent time with the children, trying to make them feel comforted and more at home.
Hung left with the intention of improving the lives of others. She didn’t realize how much she would improve her own life as well.
“A young girl followed her parents back on the bus, but suddenly came back and asked me, ‘Can I have a hug?’ I hugged her and it’s pretty amazing. Words are powerless to describe such a feeling,” said Hung, whose eyes filled with tears at the memory.
Some people crossing the border were displaying Canadian flags, Hung said.
They asked him where Canada is and what Canada looks like.
“I told them that even though my country is far from Ukraine, Canadians are super friendly, kind and we are always happy to help others,” Hung said.
But the Canadians weren’t the only ones helping. Groups and individuals from other European countries were also present, she explained.
Hung remembers a Polish couple who stood every day at the border handing out SIM cards to refugees. Meanwhile, a group of Hungarian firefighters helped those fleeing to physically move their luggage and belongings across the border.
“It was quite a humbling experience to meet people and get to know each other. All volunteers have a goal, which is to serve without asking too much in return.
“After returning home, I feel like the problems and challenges we face daily are nothing compared to what they struggle with,” Hung said.
Hung said she hopes talking about her experience inspires more people to give back to the community they live in — or even the world at large.