MOUNT PLEASANT — Indoor vacuum cleaners have been appearing in Mount Pleasant yards.
They're not improperly-discarded litter; they're part of a local-led fundraiser to benefit children in Ukraine.
The vacuums are marked with bright yellow and blue (the flag of Ukraine colors) signs by Signs and Designs of Mount Pleasant that say "War Sucks for Children," and include instructions on how to rid a recipient's yard of the upright appliance.
Instructions also are listed on the fundraiser's website, warsucksforchildren.com.
"A donation of $25 allows the participant to choose where the vacuum should be placed next and a $35 donation assures the homeowner the vacuum would not be returned to their yard," said Kimn Hassenfritz, a War Sucks for Children organizer.
"The largest donation we have received to make a vacuum 'go away' is $1,500. So far, the vacuums have been placed in over 93 different yards," she said.
The campaign consists of a series of community projects to raise awareness and money in support of Ukrainian children impacted by the war.
As a part of that, the public is invited to a reception with light refreshments, musical entertainment, and a program from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at Union Block, 105 W. Monroe St., Mount Pleasant.
To attend, register at the War Sucks for Children website.
Registration is free, but a donation is recommended during the event.
The fundraiser started when a group of retired Mount Pleasant School District teachers, including Hassenfritz, wanted to do something about the plight of children in Ukraine.
Other group members are Patty Madden, Bev Alderson, Rosemary Peck, Kristi Emerson, Pat Heusmann, and Anita Hampton.
"In the last month, the United Nations has verified nearly 100 child deaths from the fighting, with an actual figure that is likely to be considerably higher," Omar Abdi, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), told the UN's Security Council on May 12. "Many more have been injured, displaced, and face grave violations of their rights,"
To start their project, the group consulted a former student, Mike Heaton, who has worked with Catholic Charities and other no-profit groups.
Heaton connected them with UNICEF, which allocates only 3% of donations to administrative costs.
"We decided to set a community goal of $10,000," Hassenfritz said.
The community generously responded to their appeal.
"Prior to the event on Wednesday, we have raised over $11,000 for War Sucks for Children," said Hassenfritz.
On Thursday, Addington Place of Mount Pleasant will have a $7 Lunch for a Cause from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with all proceeds benefiting "War Sucks for Children."
Mount Pleasant Main Street Art Center has hosted several area art workshops for children and adults to raise funds, and churches and groups such as Rotary and Kiwanis made donations.
"The schools in Mount Pleasant have participated by hosting their own fundraisers with students and other groups have hosted events and then donated their proceeds," said Hassenfritz.
Mount Pleasant Middle School donated more than $600 dollars.
This article originally appeared on The Hawk Eye: Vacuums in Mount Pleasant raise money for children in Ukraine