Airlift to Ukrainian Children in the Spirit of the Candy Bomber

On March 29, 2022, Operation Little Vittles 2, a grassroots humanitarian relief mission based in Salt Lake City, Utah, successfully airlifted 12,000 pounds of supplies bound for displaced Ukrainian children in Eastern Europe. The airlift was accomplished in partnership with the Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation, US Navy’s VR-56, AllenComm, the City of Berlin, Germany, Senator Mike Lee’s office, Last Mile, and a variety of other caring organizations and individuals.  The Gail S. Halvorsen Aviation Education Foundation (“Halvorsen Foundation”) is honored to have played a small part in facilitating the movement of these donated humanitarian supplies to children in need.

“We are grateful to partner with the Gail Halvorsen Foundation on this mission. We’re continually amazed by the generosity of Utahns. We asked, and they stepped up in huge ways,” said Julie Ramos, Managing Director of Philanthropy for Miller Family Philanthropy. “With the overwhelming response we’ve received from generous Utahns, we are pleased to be able to send some donations now and deliver additional goods to bordering countries as effectively and efficiently as possible to support long-term refugee efforts. We will also be prepared to assist refugees arriving in Utah as they establish their new lives here.”

James Stewart, executive director of the Halvorsen Foundation, echoed, “Today, a collection of small things was gathered, packaged, and sent off to do big things: to give hope and comfort to women and children displaced by the ravages of war.”

The mission of The Halvorsen Foundation’s grassroots effort is to continue the legacy of hope. Like Colonel Halvorsen, small acts of kindness can change the world. The organizer of the mission, Cindi Merrell, said that she “was inspired by the Colonel’s light and strongly believes in working together to create the next generation of Candy Bombers”. She was especially touched by the 9,000 letters of inspiration from Utah’s children submitted by First Lady Abby Cox’s office.

Furthermore, in a time where divisiveness seems to be the rule, this project showed that people can come together, regardless of background, and achieve something great in service to others. 

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