Help my niece help the Ukrainians

Do you love baked goods? Do you love helping Ukrainian orphans escape a life of poverty and Ukrainianism? Do you love seeing adorable 6-year-olds endeavor to bless the lives of others? Then this is your lucky day, Hector!

In Utah dwells one Gary Ceran, who had a wife and nine children. Two died at birth; three more died of brain cancer. Then his wife and two of the remaining children were killed by a drunk driver. On Christmas Eve. This left Gary Ceran and two children out of a family that originally had 11 members. Then Gary forgave the drunk driver and asked the court to show leniency on him, because Gary is a better person than you or me.

Gary eventually married a woman named Corrine, who had four children of her own, joining Gary’s two surviving teenagers. Do you think six children is enough for one household? You are mistaken! Gary and Corrine now seek to adopt three Ukrainian orphans, ages 11, 9, and 8, whom they hosted for a few weeks last fall. The process is expensive — $40,000. That is the going rate for Ukrainian orphans nowadays, because of inflation. But if the kids stay where they are, in the Ukraine, as orphans … well, forget about it. Even living in Utah would be preferable to that. They want to be a permanent part of the Ceran family, and the Cerans want them too.

Here’s where the adorable 6-year-old comes in. My niece, Lindsay, wanted to have a bake sale, primarily as an excuse to make brownies. Her parents steered her toward the idea of raising money to help someone in need and told her about the Cerans. Lindsay got excited and wanted to help that family. (Lindsay is pictured here with her 3-year-old brother, Logan, who is also adorable.)

So this Friday, Feb. 11, from 3-6 p.m., Lindsay will host a bake sale at her house in Pleasant Grove, Utah, assisted by her parents (my brother Jeff and his wife, Beth). I’m told that a variety of tasty homemade treats will be available for purchase. If you are in the vicinity and can figure out how to find something in Pleasant Grove (I always end up in American Fork), why not stop by, pick up some goodies, and help the Ceran family?

If you are not in the vicinity, you can still help Lindsay raise money by sending a donation through PayPal to Jeff Snider, (Mind the “J” in there. We like middle initials in our family.) Every penny will go directly to the Cerans’ adoption process. What’s more, Jeff and Beth have told Lindsay that they will match whatever she raises.

Lindsay, being young and uncynical, is awestruck to think that strangers — people she doesn’t even know! — would send her money on the Cerans’ behalf. Her face lights up whenever Jeff reports that a donation has come in.

You want to make a 6-year-old’s face light up, don’t you? And you want to help Ukrainian orphans, don’t you? WELL, DON’T YOU??

More details on the event, including the address for the bake sale, are here.

UPDATE: Holy crap, you guys! The bake sale raised $796.85! I don’t have the details. I don’t know if brownies were being sold at $50 apiece. I don’t know if sorcery was involved. But in addition to that money raised in person, another $971.00 was donated via PayPal, from all over the world. That’s $1,767.85 that my 6-year-old niece raised, to be matched by my brother and his wife, for a total of $3,535.70 that will go to an amazing family adopting three Ukrainian orphans. You have to go to the Ceran family’s site and read more about them. These people are unbelievably generous and good-hearted. Their actions are informed by their religious faith, and they are the epitome of what Christians are supposed to be.

And think how great little Lindsay must feel! She’s 6 years old, and she got to help organize this project that will directly bless the lives of others. I’m six times her age and I don’t know if I’ve ever done anything that useful. To all of you who contributed via PayPal or who showed up at the bake sale, thank you for helping a little girl experience the joy of helping others, and thank you for helping the Cerans bring their new kids home.