Giving back on a family trip

The Horst family volunteered their time for three weeks in Romania and Ukraine this summer. A bake sale on Saturday at Anchor of Hope Church in Stratford will raise money for a mobile medical clinic in Ukraine

For three weeks this summer, the Horst family, of Stratford, went to Europe to volunteer their time in Romania and Ukraine.

Cherie Horst, the eldest of Clifford and Carolyn’s five children, said she wanted to mix a family trip with giving back. Cherie was in touch with family friend Dianne Roth, a Milverton nurse volunteering at a medical mobile clinic in Ukraine, and was inspired to help.

“We decided, you know what, there is a war going on in the World.”

The Horst family left for Romania in August. Soon enough, Clifford, Cherie and Cheyenne were volunteering with the medical mobile units and making 12-hour road trips into Ukraine, with dad driving his daughters. Siblings Cedric, Craig and Chloe stayed in Romania and volunteered their time, along with heir mother. 

Cheyenne worked as a nurses aid, and her elder sister, a teacher back home, was a back-up driver and helped at clinics. 

There were trips into Kyiv, the Ukraine capital, and the family saw the effects of war, including bombed out gas stations and holes in people’s back yards. 

“You saw the damages, it was really sad,” said Cheyenne. 

The sisters noticed that Ukrainians get on with life: a mom and her daughter walking up the shell of an apartment building back to their residence, kids playing in a heavily damaged playground or teens hanging out in burned out cars. 

“The devastation is horrible, war is really horrible,” Cheyenne said. 

Despite the dangers, the family members were brave and focused on helping. 

“We are Christians, we trust God to take care of us. We would pray for safety.”

The Horst family in Romania this summer (contributed photo).

After the trip, the family was inspired to continue to help. Cherie said there is a fundraiser, on Saturday from 1-5 p.m., at Anchor of Hope Church (308 Erie St., Stratford). A bake sale will raise money for Ukraine, specifically Roth’s medical mobile unit that is still in the country. 

“We are excited about raising some money for Ukraine and excited that we might get to meet some more of our neighbours in the community. This is a common cause that all of us care about, the whole community cares about.”

Cherie said everyone is welcome to attend.

A gofundme page for the mobile medical team can be found here:

Related: A trip back to Ukraine for a nurse with a big heart: