This is going to be a quick post, and we’ll resume regular LEGO news and review programming soon, but this has been heavy on my mind.
Last night, I was listening to The Daily, a podcast from The New York Times. The episode was In Ukraine, the Men Who Must Stay and Fight, about the stories and experiences of 3 Ukrainian men, who remained in Ukraine, either by choice, or forcefully, or because there was no other option.
It was quite a harrowing listen (as is all news coming out of Ukraine, following the brutal invasion by Russia, but what struck me was the first guy. His name was Eugene, and he was reluctant to stay and defend his home, but was determined to do all he could.
In recounting his story, he just sounded like a regular guy, he said he enjoyed puzzles, and building LEGO – something that I immediately resonated with, and my heart just sank, thinking of all the people like me in Ukraine, who are uncertain of their lives and future.
I then wondered, do any Ukrainians read my blog, and checked Google Analytics. On a normal day, I get maybe 10-15 users from Ukraine, but following the start of the invasion (22 February-ish), that number has begun to dwindle to about 5-7 a day.
It’s a small amount, but I’ve been thinking about these readers, and am honestly surprised that I still get visitors from Ukraine during a full-blown invasion, as cities are bombarded by artillery.
I hope that my content and articles can be a some form of solace, and entertainment, to take your minds off the awful situation that you’re in at the moment, even if LEGO should probably be the last thing on your mind.
I also think a lot about the fan designer of the Home Alone set, Alex Storozhuk who is from Ukraine. I spoke to him on a roundtable interview, just a few months ago, and found him warm, engaging, and like me and you, a huge fan of LEGO.
The last I heard from Alex on Twitter, was him asking for prayers on Twitter, and only a week ago, was celebrating the A-Frame Cabin passing the recent LEGO Ideas review.
I think about Alex a lot, and hope he and his family are safe.
I can’t do much, but today, I decided to donate a significant portion of advertising and affiliate revenue to the Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal. The revenue comes from you, the reader, when you order LEGO through my affiliate links, so I want to acknowledge your contribution in this donation.
I am beyond lucky to be a world away, in a safe condition, being able to go to work, be with my family, and enjoy my LEGO, and there’s more I wish I could do to help.
I may do a small minifigure/set raffle soon to raise more funds, but I need to figure out prizes and whatnot, and I’m in the middle of a big reorganisation project, so my stuff is all over the place and hard to access.
Please be patient. If you have the means, please consider donating to the Red Cross.
In other news, The LEGO Foundation, Ole Kirk’s Fond, and the LEGO Group have made an emergency DKK110 million donation and have halted shipments to Russia following sanctions and an unpredictable operating environment.
See below for more info on LEGO’s donation, and where the funds are being chanelled.
This just awful all around, and a sobering reminder that war is terrible, and normal, everyday people get caught up in unnecessary violence. It’s also a reminder of LEGO’s stance of not producing military sets.
A stickered tile in the LEGO Volkswagen T1 Camper Van has a great message.
LEGO donates to Ukrainian children and families
In response, LEGO have quickly acted, with The LEGO Foundation donating DKK 110 million (approx US$16.38m) to support Ukrainian children and families affected by the devastating invasion in Ukraine, thousands of whom are fleeing to neighbouring countries.
This donation aims to support general humanitarian aid for the Ukrainian people as well as education and protection of children. The 110 M DKK will be distributed to partners including the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Save the Children, and the Danish Red Cross to address the immediate basic needs and mental support for the millions of civilians affected by the crisis. The exact focus of activities will depend on how the situation evolves and as UNICEF, Save the Children, and the Danish Red Cross identify the greatest needs, in the days and weeks ahead.
Special thanks to Dave from BrickNerd, for permission to use his photo of the LEGO Sunflowers (Ukraine’s national flower) depicted as part of the Ukrainian flag.
Be sure to check out their post on Kyiv’s Comfort Town, for an insight into the local Ukrainian LEGO community.
The United States & EU are using Ukraine as a proxy in order to fight Russia. Why are they doing that you ask? The 0ne world government agenda WANTS Russia and they will keep having other countries launder money thru Ukraine until they get what they want…
My family just got the Home Alone set, which is very loved, and reading about the designer. We came here hoping to read Alex and his family are ok.
Thank you for this thoughtful post and action.
Thanks for your post Jay and for your sizeable donation. I’m so pleased to hear that Lego are donating money – and lego, That will make a huge difference to many children – and adults. What a senseless invasion. I’m also sad to think how normal Russians will fare with all this turmoil – I suspect this is not their will either.
Make lego models not war. Perfect!
Paul Castle says
I’m appalled by that terrible man who’s not content with having the largest country in the world (1/8th of the world’s landmass) he wants more.
I dearly hope that the Ukraine conflict comes to an end soon, and freedom is restored to that ancient country.
This is amazing Jay thanks for posting.
I visited their capital in 2018 and its a beautiful city with amazing and friendly people so its complete madness this is taking place to these fantastic people. The support for Ukraine across the globe is immense and I hope this can be over sooner rather than later.
I’m based in the UK and the ‘Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB)’ are also driving support here to support those back home through a gofundme page that is currently at £1.6m in donations. https://www.gofundme.com/f/helpukraine
This news sickens my heart each and every day as well. I’m happy to see you posting about it, even if you mention it will be brief. I’m a recent transplant to Ireland from the United States, and I wonder sometimes if I would still feel the same about this entire situation if I wasn’t a resident of the EU. I hope that I would. I work in IT, and quite a few of our teams are based in Poland, Ukraine, and other parts of Eastern Europe. I’ve been checking in with people daily. One person living outside of Warsaw mentioned that they’ve had bags packed since December, when the US and British intelligence first seriously started communicating these concerns. It’s unthinkable to me to be in a position where I’d have to have a go bag packed for myself and my family in case of war. However, the more news that comes out like this, the more I realize it could be any of us, at any time, and I am also grateful to be where I am at.
Thanks for the information, as well as ways we can help support ongoing efforts.