Want to be a Canadian Ambassador of kindness? Send a postcard.
Postcards to the Front (Ukraine) was founded by three Ukrainian women shortly after Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. One of them called Tamara is a postcrosser, which means she is a member of an international group of over 800,000 who send postcards all over the world, continuing the tradition of communicating by hand-written notes sent by mail. A week after the launch of the invasion of Ukraine, Tamara latched onto the idea of sending postcards with messages of support and encouragement to Ukrainian defenders on the front lines. Among the first to participate were school children, but soon volunteers from all walks of life began to congregate in cafes and shelters to hold card-writing sessions across Ukraine. More than 5,000 postcards have been sent to date.
In March an Australian branch began, and in April, Canadian postcrosser Helen Bajorek launched Postcards to the Front (Canada). Helen has been sending monthly postcards of support to 30 Ukrainian postcrossers since the war began. Now she helps coordinate the delivery of messages from across Canada to the front lines in Ukraine.
Anyone can participate in this activity. Messages from children are particularly poignant for defenders who have left their families and sometimes don’t even know their whereabouts. Postcards covered with colourful drawings and happy messages- remind them of the “normal” activities they are hoping to enjoy with their families once again. Images of sunflowers, a symbol of Ukraine, are a welcome addition. The message can cover the entire card, including the address section, because the card will be mailed in bulk and added to care packages which are hand-delivered to the front.
The messages should be happy and supportive of Ukraine with no mention of Russia. Use simple English words or add a few Ukrainian words. Tips and translations are provided on the organization’s website or through an app such as Google Translate.
Make sure to mention that you are from Canada. It will remind the recipients that there are people around the world who support them, and be sure to sign your name to make it personal. Cards should be addressed to “Defender of Ukraine” or simply “Greetings from Canada”. Recipients are not only soldiers: some are medical staff and volunteers helping with logistics.
Send one or many cards- all will arrive safely. Four or five cards fit into one envelope and can be sent with a single domestic postage stamp to: Postcards to the Front (Canada)
Box 184, Millbrook, ON, L0A 1G0. Helen advises that postcards have already begun to flow in to the Canadian branch from Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.
There will be no responses from the recipients- they don’t have time to write back. Sending these cards is a bit like sending a message in a bottle- it requires a leap of faith.
It may not feel like much, but after more than a year defending themselves, Ukrainian men and women on the front lines could use a boost. A happy, personal, hand-written message from a stranger from abroad is a simple way to offer encouragement. Organizers have been told that these notes make a difference in the psychological well-being of front line defenders. For more information about the organization, visit www.postcardstothefrontcanada.com.