Participants in the STARS Jewish youth educational program in Donetsk, Ukraine, this week packed the traditional Purim food baskets called mishloach manot for the town's elderly residents. Sending gifts of food to family and friends is one of the four commandments associated with the holiday, which begins Thursday night.

"We are doing this to bring happiness to our fellow Jews, and especially those who are lonely and need assistance and someone to talk to," commented Vika Kiseleva, who first proposed this initiative to fellow students in the STARS program.

Everyone immediately agreed to take on the project and even raised the necessary funds themselves, with support from Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Pinchus Vishedsky, the city's chief rabbi.

Decorated with ribbons, each of the 50 baskets contain essential kosher food items and festive treats, including candy. Organizers stressed that while the distribution is focused on those less fortunate, an added benefit is the increased care that participants are showing for their fellow Jews.

The Jewish community of Donetsk is a member of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine.