Bay Area nonprofit brings solar lanterns to Ukraine as Russian missiles pummel power grid

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Saturday, December 31, 2022
Bay Area nonprofit brings solar lanterns to Ukraine
Bay Area nonprofit SunLight Ukraine is bringing much needed solar lanterns to Ukrainians, as many struggle without power amid Russian missile strikes.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- With a click of a button, solar lanterns are poised to bring some much needed light to Ukraine.

"We're shipping thousands of these little light units they can use in their houses and underground shelters," said Paul Andrews, co-chair SunLight Ukraine. The Bay Area resident founded the nonprofit with his brother and their Ukrainian American friend.

"In Ukraine right now due to the relentless bombing of power plants, millions of people don't have power," said Andrews.

A massive airstrike Thursday left thousands more without power after Russia launched more than 100 missiles at cities across the country.

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"The three of us said, 'Gee' with the bombing going on these little lights could be useful," said Andrews. Shortly, they started assembling a team. "We have freight boarders in Los Angeles, web designers here in San Francisco, we have a Ukrainian shipping company in New Jersey."

And the manufacturer made it possible by donating the lanterns, which produce 50 hours of light on one solar charge, as well as have a USB port.

"If you have no electricity you can't charge your cell phone, you're alone in dark, so these will make a big, big difference to Ukrainian families," said Andrews, noting a group of students are helping to get the lights to families.

"They're distributed by a student-run volunteer service of Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv and they're taking them all across the country," said Andrews, who couldn't be more proud.

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"So what do these Catholic students decide to do? They took a big group for the first batch and they gave them out to three Jewish communities to celebrate Hanukkah as sign of interfaith solidarity."

A gesture that was received with great gratitude.

"May the light of these lanterns help us all," said Leonid Goldberg, Jewish Society of Drohobych. "The power of light will always overcome the power of darkness."

To make a donation to SunLight Ukraine, visit its website here.

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