SHELBY, Mich. (WOOD) — A woman collecting “Letters of Hope” for Ukraine has sent the first shipment overseas.

Laura McMurry of Shelby announced on her Facebook page Monday that nearly 800 letters had been collected and sent to the people of Ukraine who are fleeing their country into Poland after she started the project in March.

In the Facebook post, McMurry said that she and a friend were “in tears” as they emptied the P.O. box that has been collecting mail for almost a month. Letters came from school children, scout troops, churches, senior citizen centers and “hundreds of kind, caring, generous individuals” around the country, she wrote. Seven boxes of clothing were also donated thanks to a consignment store in Allegan, she said in the post.

McMurry got the idea for Letters of Hope for Ukraine when she was scrolling on Facebook and saw her friend Adam Israel was on the Ukraine-Poland border helping families cross safely and provide them with food and shelter. She asked him what she could do to help.

“Collect letters and get them to me over there,” Israel said.

So that’s exactly what McMurry did. She urged everyone to participate in the organized effort.

“You can write a letter to a child, a family, a man or woman or a soldier, words of hope,” McMurry said. “And you can include $10 to $20 in the letter, and they can use U.S. dollars over there.”

Israel has been working on the border since March 6. McMurry said Israel has been using donations to buy medical supplies, hotel rooms, clothing and “whatever the Ukrainians need.”

The first shipment has been sent, but McMurry said she expects to send more as the war goes on.

You can send a letter to:

Laura McMurry
Letters of Hope
P.O. Box 2
Shelby, MI 49455