Hockey LockerWhen AEM heard a local business with ties to Ukraine was collecting donations to send to refugees, one of the association’s longtime employees was quick to take action.

Helen Horner knew Hockey Locker owners Milos and Agata Host have family in Bóbrka, Poland, close to the border of Ukraine, and she felt compelled to support their efforts to collect and send donations to those in need. Horner, with support from fellow AEM employee Shawna Plautz, spearheaded an effort on the part of the association staff to collect donations for a school in Poland that has taken in 30 Ukrainian refugees. 

“The quick action of AEM’s staff was a touching surprise,” said Horner, who is AEM’s Director of Educational Programs. “The conflict is close to my heart, and it’s wonderful to see several of my colleagues willing to step up and support a good cause.” 

Horner’s parents are from Poland, so once she found out she could help, that was all the motivation she needed. Word of the refugees in need spread through the office quickly. A trusted vendor, Airways Freight, has offered to ship the donated items for them for free after hearing about the situation from an employee.

For the last several months, Hockey Locker has collected non-perishable food, tents, mattresses, and sleeping bags and cash donations, among other items, to send to the school. Soon, these Ukrainian refugees will have some of the supplies that they so desperately need. All thanks to the Hosts, along with support from Horner, Plautz and others at AEM, who have assisted Hockey Locker with their efforts. 

“It really was a group effort on the part of a lot of people, and the assistance AEM was able to provide will help immensely,” said Plautz, who works as AEM’s Contracts and Administrative Coordinator.

According to Horner, Ukrainian refugees are still in need of support and donations. Items most in need are:

  • Non-perishable food
  • Clothes, socks and footwear for men/women/children
  • Thermal underwear
  • Hygiene products (women’s products, diapers, etc.)
  • Blankets
  • Bedding
  • Table wear (disposable)
  • First aid and first aid kits (bandages, Tylenol, Advil)
  • Tents, mattresses, sleeping bags

For more information on Hockey Locker’s efforts to support refugees in the Ukraine, reach out to AEM’s Helen Horner at

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