Perrysburg teacher to travel to Poland to help those fleeing Ukraine

A Perrysburg teacher, Bill Hilt, is heading to Poland after starting a fundraiser to help those...
A Perrysburg teacher, Bill Hilt, is heading to Poland after starting a fundraiser to help those fleeing Ukraine.(WTVG)
Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 4:05 PM EDT
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PERRYSBURG, Ohio (WTVG) - A Perrysburg teacher is heading to Poland on Friday after starting a fundraiser to help those fleeing Ukraine.

Bill Hilt, a 5th and 6th grade social studies teacher at Hull Prairie Intermediate School, is known for using candy in the classroom to help students learn.

The wall outside his classroom door is covered by a world map with candy wrappers attached from different countries.

“I’ve been using candy as a way to teach kids about geography and world cultures for a long time,” said Hilt, who is in his 29th year as a teacher.

He is now getting his students involved in an effort to help those that are fleeing Ukraine.

“My first instinct was, ok, I have to do something. What can I do?,” Hilt said.

Hilt has close ties to Ukraine and has visited the country three times, most recently traveling there in 2019.

“I have a lot of friends over there and they are hurting, and scared, and don’t know what to do,” he said. “I can hardly explain the emotions that have been going on in the last few weeks. I’ve broken down a few times.”

Hilt decided to start a Facebook fundraiser, and within 19 hours, he said it reached its goal of raising $2,500. The money raised is being used to purchase candy, which will be placed inside care packages and given to students and others in Poland who have fled Ukraine.

“There are some people that are like , ‘Really, candy? Couldn’t you use something better?,” said Hilt. “But it’s just a little something that will spark some joy in some kids who have probably had a really joyless existence for the last few weeks.”

Also included inside each care packages are words of encouragement written by Hilt’s students in Ukrainian.

“It’s just to try and put a smile on a kids face,” he said.

Hilt also runs the organization, World Affairs Council of Northwest Ohio, which started a t-shirt fundraiser to collect donations that will be given to teachers still working in Ukraine to support social and emotional learning for children.

“My first thought was to try and come up with a program, like a tool box, to give to the teachers and youth workers who are working with the displaced Ukrainian youth,” Hilt explained.

Each t-shirt costs $25 and is made in partnership with JupMode.

To purchase a t-shirt or make a donation, click here.

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