Patient makes holidays happier for Ukrainian kids with help of Mayo Clinic Health System staff

Art truck for kids in Ukraine

When Rebecca Danhof, M.D., learned one of her patients was making trucks filled with school supplies to send to Ukrainian children for Christmas, she wanted to help. And she thought her colleagues might, too.

It's not the North Pole. But Kale and Sandy Kvistad's garage in Kimbell, Wisconsin, bears a striking resemblance to Santa's workshop.

For the past several months, the Kvistads have been busy making a fleet of small wooden trucks. Just like Santa and Mrs. Claus, they're a team: Kale builds the trucks, and Sandy stains them. When finished, each truck holds crayons, a ruler, a pair of scissors, pencils, a pencil sharpener and an eraser.

Now, the 200 trucks they've created are getting ready to hit the road. And then the air. They'll end their journey in Poland, where they'll be given to Ukrainian children who have had to flee their homes because of war.

"I'm hoping it takes their mind off the other things going on over there," Kale tells WXOW-TV

When Kale's physician, Rebecca Danhof, M.D., heard about the project, she offered to donate some activity books to accompany the trucks.

"I felt inspired by his kindness and generosity," Dr. Danhof says.

She thought her colleagues at Mayo Clinic Health System in Onalaska might be inspired, too. So she sent an email explaining the project and inviting others to donate activity books, as well. Before long, she'd collected 200 books.

"I feel grateful and blessed to work with such kindhearted and giving colleagues," Dr. Danhof says. "I hope that the crayon trucks and activity books provide a little bit of brightness in the lives of children who may have been displaced from their homes and families."

She also hopes more stories like this one make it into the light.

"The world is filled with generous people that are doing amazingly kind things to make life a little better for those less fortunate," she says. "Unfortunately, we tend not to hear about these acts of kindness."