HANOVERTON -- Pupils at United Junior High School have kicked off their ninth annual drive to collect toys, clothes and other items for orphans living in the former Soviet republic of Belarus.
The drive will continue until about mid-March. The items collected then will be shipped to Belarus, said Dianna Rickard, a teacher at United.
Rickard also is mentor for the pupil group "Friends From Afar," which has undertaken the charity drive.
Many of the orphans who benefit from the effort are sick as a result of radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster that occurred in 1986 in nearby Ukraine.
Pupils at United are among the most devoted donors.
Some have contributed their own toys or spent their Christmas money to buy things for the orphans, Rickard said.
Besides small toys and clothes, other items needed include girl's hair supplies, individually wrapped candies, flashlights and batteries, shampoo, toilet paper, over-the-counter medicine and toothbrushes and toothpaste.
People interested in arranging a pickup of items or learning more about the drive can contact Rickard at (330) 332-8482.