New Hampshire volunteers make 8th trip to help Ukrainian orphans

A New Hampshire volunteer group involving Alex Ray, the owner of the Common Man restaurants, visited the Ukraine to bring holiday gifts and goodies to orphans. Photo Courtesy of the Common Man. 

By Stacy Milbouer

December 21, 2023

There’s nothing common about the humanitarian work a New Hampshire restaurant chain is doing for Ukrainians since the war began nearly two years ago.

Alex Ray, owner of the Common Man family of restaurants, volunteers for the nonprofit Common Man for Ukraine and the Rotary Club of Plymouth, are on their way home from a three-day trip in the war-torn country to deliver holiday gifts, goodies, and much-needed supplies to 1,300 orphans.

This was the eighth trip the group has taken to Ukraine since the war started almost two years ago.

Ray and the volunteer crew helped Rotary clubs in Poland and Ukraine pack 30 trucks with 18 tons of food, 1,000 sleeping bags, 24 generators, and Christmas packages, according to a news release from The Common Man. In those packages are candy and gifts including “peace dolls,” handmade by a Laconia church group.

The volunteers have also visited 17 orphanages and safe houses in 10 cities in Ukraine. Many of the children they will see have lost a parent or family member in the war.

“The kids are living with this every day now for almost two years, and so we have to be as brave as they are. We have to,” said Susan Mathison, co-founder of Common Man for Ukraine in an interview with WCVB 5.

Since it began, Common Man for Ukraine has raised more than $3 million in donations and has delivered 900 tons of food, 10,000 sleeping bags, hundreds of generators, a Bloodmobile, and provided $400,000 in mental health services for traumatized children.

The group always welcomes donations.



  • Stacy Milbouer

    Stacy Milbouer is an award-winning journalist and has covered New Hampshire for many publications including the Boston Globe, New Hampshire Magazine, and the Nashua Telegraph.



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