Two single mothers were the grateful recipients of used vehicles in great working condition after their vehicles failed them
for Clark County Today
Over 160 families were blessed this holiday season by the group Flash Love, led by Andrey Ivanov. Two of those families were blessed in ways that will help for years to come. Sarah Akey and Mila Vorobey, two single mothers, were the grateful recipients of used vehicles in great working condition after their vehicles failed them.
“What we seek to do is replicate the heart of Jesus,” said Ivanov. “We want to unite the community. Whether it’s through coordinating events like this, the Spartan Challenge, the Junior Warrior Training, or the new Steering Committee, which is a community leadership council, we want to create a better space to see the good of humanity. We don’t want to fight about how we’re different. We want to see the good and show everyone that we are better if we choose to work together.’’
The giving event, which took place on Dec. 12, was an event that brought that vision to life. Ivanov and the group of volunteers visited 30 families and “loved on them during the holiday season,” he said. “Many of these families are going through difficult times. They all have their own struggles- it’s a lot of single moms and elderly, but those aren’t the only types of families we show up for.” Ivanov said that each of the families were in their own hardship situations. They just needed a little bit of help, and a little bit of hope.
“We didn’t try to figure out who’s the most ‘qualified’ for a blessing,” Ivanov said. Rather, the community was invited to recommend the families in need to Flash Love. Further, after requesting community help via funding, over 60 individuals and businesses responded, and Flash Love was able to show up for 168 families.
In addition to financial support, Yesteryear Farms in Wilsonville once again donated 30 Christmas trees from their farm. “That’s almost $3,000 worth of trees,” Ivanov said. “I reached out to my friends Rod and Joanne Horner, and they selflessly gave these trees to families who otherwise wouldn’t have had a Christmas tree.” That’s not just 2023 he clarified. “They do this year after year out of the generosity of their own hearts, never expecting anything in return.”
The youth involved in Flash Love also put together Christmas cards, which Ivanov said included gift cards to Fred Meyer. “We wanted to be able to give parents the dignity to buy gifts for their own children. We don’t want the kids to get things they don’t need or want; and no one knows what they need or want better than their parents. There are so many people who have money or resources that they want to use to help others, but they don’t know how. We are creating a space that’s trustworthy, so they know it’s a safe space to share their hearts and their resources and bless others.”
The culmination of that wonderful evening was two mothers, whose vehicles had left them in “dier situations,” Ivanov said, getting blessed with vehicles. “These mothers were in serious need,” he said. So, he reached out to a friend of his, Maks Sikorskiy, who owns Columbia Motors in Portland. “He’s helped families I’ve sent his way before,” Ivanov said. “A family fleeing the war in Ukraine who had adopted eight children asked me where to go and I sent them there. The dad wanted to be able to work and needed reliable transportation. Maks found them a vehicle and got it for them. How it works is the entire team has to agree to give up their bonus checks. If the team agrees, they can donate a vehicle to someone in need.
“First, I only knew about Mila needing a car. I spoke with Maks and we worked it out. I received a message about Sarah, and shortly after, Maks called back and said he thought he could get me another car. I said, ‘You won’t believe this- but I have another mother who needs one!’ Maks never wants recognition for things like this. But I told him that people need to hear these things. The news is so filled with evil. People need hope and need to hear of good in the world. I want to be allowed to show what good hearts like Maks’ are doing- there’s not enough of it out there, but it happens more than people know.”
Ivanov said that each vehicle was worth roughly $3,500 if sold on the lots. He also said that he spoke with Maks again after they settled matters on the two vehicle donations. “He had told me that the past 45 days had been extremely slow for business,” Ivanov said. “Even so, the staff had agreed to sacrifice their bonuses to donate. After they agreed to do this, the entire staff, every single person, had a client at their desks buying a car! They were all blessed for blessing others.” This, he said, is one way to show God’s heart.
What’s more, Ivanov said a friend who used to help out with Flash Love before he moved to Ohio, Alex Mironov, said he wanted to help the mothers as well. So, he is paying for two years’ worth of maintenance for both vehicles. “I didn’t even ask him to do this,” Ivanov said. “He did this completely on his own! This is how community comes together to take care of those who need it.”
Ivanov said that while of course the individuals and families who receive are blessed, it’s also a blessing for those who give. “The people who come and serve, they’re forever impacted by the experience. To see the surprise on the faces when we show up on their doorstep, the smiles of the children- that’s not something they soon forget. And it’s something they want to replicate. And then the neighbors are watching out their windows while over 100 people sing them Christmas carols and spread cheer, and they get to see the love. When you see enough evil, it makes you recluse and it makes you stop trusting each other. This helps everyone to see that there is still good. Thank God.”
The following week, Flash Love went to a nursing home and a rehab center for post-hospital care. The youth again made handmade Christmas cards and showed up during mealtime singing Christmas carols and giving hugs. “December wasn’t a one-time event. It’s an ongoing movement we’ve been doing for years. And we welcome people to be a part of it and help it grow.”
There will be monthly events this year, said Ivanov, and some will be public. Watch for more information for February’s event where the public will be invited to show up at two other nursing homes and bring Valentine’s Day cards while singing “classic old tunes.”
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