At the top of the world, a Russian orphanage will be the lucky recipient of another one of Whangārei-raised Alex Gilbert's good deeds.

The Russian adoptee is giving back to the Arkhangelsk orphanage that was his home for the first two years of his life

He was adopted by Whangārei parents Janice and Mark Gilbert in 1994 with his adoptee brother, Andrei.

The I'm Adopted founder's current project involves gifting toys to the children of his orphanage.


This is another opportunity for Gilbert to reconnect with his Russian heritage and a place he is becoming "very familiar" with.

He returned to his orphanage last October and met a woman who has worked there since 1992.

"She even remembered me ... It's incredible" Gilbert said.

If Gilbert returns to Russia to deliver the toys personally, it will be his fifth trip in the past five years.

With this project, Gilbert wanted to do something that would impact the children's lives directly.

"I wanted to give them something they would need and use" Gilbert said.

The Arkhangelsk Regional Children's Orphanage is home to children from 4 months to 4 years of age.

All of the toys have been collected and are ready to be gifted early next year.

The collection of toys, filling two large boxes, includes New Zealand's Kiwiana Buzzy Bee and toy company Zuru's generous donations.

Rather than requesting toys to be donated by the community, Gilbert is buying the toys he wants to gift and relying on donated funds to cover the costly delivery fees.

The funds raised from the project's Givealittle page will be put towards more gifts and the delivery of the toys whether that is by post or personally, which is his preferred option if he has the chance.

"I would love to personally take it there."

Funds are already looking very healthy with the page being active for only two weeks and still months to go until the ideal delivery date.

To post one of the boxes that are currently filled it will cost almost $1000, but if Gilbert flies and pays for his own travel, he can take twice as much.

If he does deliver the gifts, he would love to visit early next year and experience a Russian winter.

This coming winter is expected to be one of their coldest, reaching temperatures of -35

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