Back-up host families needed for visiting Belorussian children

For the second-straight year, the local chapter of the Canadian Relief Fund for Victims of Chernobyl in Belarus is planning to host a small group of children in Rainy River District next summer.
But organizers need some help from the community–and the clock is ticking fast.
Five children and one translator are slated to come over next summer. Two children will stay in Morson, two in Rainy River, and the other one in Fort Frances.
But the group needs back-up host families, and another family to house a translator. And the deadline is the end of December, when they must submit their application to the national relief fund office.
Cathy Zin, leader of the local relief fund group, already is planning to host a child next summer after having such a good time when Dimitry Fedoruk, nine, stayed with her, her husband, Terry Wilcott, and their children, Giordan and Austin, earlier this year.
“It’s not only giving a child a chance to get well,” said Zin. “From my side, it’s a good educational opportunity for our children to get that personal touch, and bring them closer to understanding the issue at hand . . . the 1986 nuclear [accident at Chernobyl].”
Belarus, which borders the Ukraine where Chernobyl is located, is still plagued with the effects of fallout from the 1986 reactor blast.
Eleven children and a translator stayed with nine host families from across the district for six weeks from this past June to August. The idea was to give the children a healthy respite from their radiation-contaminated country.
They also had access to medical and dental care during their stay here.
Anyone wishing to volunteer in some way can contact Zin at 274-9483 (evenings) before Dec. 24.