After weeks of seeing the devastation in Ukraine happening on our TV screens, a group of colleagues got together and decided there was more they could do to help. Thrive arranged for the hire of two vans along with fuel and accommodation to ensure that each donation received on the Just Giving page would directly purchase the necessary equipment and not fund the trip.
With the vans full of aid generously donated by colleagues and members of the community, the team of volunteers from Thrive set off on the 2890 mile round trip to bring urgently needed supplies to the refugees fleeing the crisis in Ukraine. From the beginning of their journey, the team experienced the kindness and generosity of strangers showing their support as they made their way to Le Shuttle, with families giving extra donations even as they boarded.
On Thursday evening the team reached their first destination, Olsztyn, and received a warm welcome from the Polish Red Cross, who helped unload the majority of boxes that were transported on behalf of the British Red Cross and Salvation Army based in Portswood, Southampton. The amount of positivity and kindness shown by the volunteers was overwhelming and hearing about the work they’ve done to help everyone that has passed through was truly incredible.
The team managed to get some rest in the evening before hitting the road again on Friday morning and driving 7 hours to the next stop of Medyka, an area often shown in the news as a main crossing point for fleeing Ukrainians. Over 17,000 people had passed through on the Thursday alone. As the vans were now almost empty, the team went to the local hypermarket and restocked with essential food, emergency equipment and medical supplies as well as, blankets, duvets, blow up beds, torches, batteries, power packs, clothing, nappies, all much-needed essential items we use every day without thought.
An early start on Saturday meant the team got to the second drop-off point with time to spare. Other vans and volunteers from all corners of Europe had also arrived and everyone helped each other unload. Soldiers were also there waiting to transfer some items onto lorries to drive directly across the boarder into Ukraine.
The team delivered a vans worth of medical equipment, insulin, antibiotics, bandages, medications, and syringes together with a full pallet of baby food. For the refugees that have fled and for those that remain, emergency living is the priority – somewhere to get shelter from the biting weather, and warm themselves with a hot meal. Although it was warm during the daytime, at night the temperature dropped to around -7 so the Red Cross volunteers were working tirelessly to ensure everyone got the help they needed.
The school and fire station in Bolestraszyce also provide breakfast, lunch and dinner for the refugees staying in the local residents’ houses, another amazing act of generosity from the local people. The team made another drop of essential food supplies to them and made sure they were well stocked. Having said their good-byes to all the wonderful people they met, the team set off on their long journey home with small rest stop in Germany on Saturday night before continuing the journey home.
So many people have already given to this worthy cause however there is still more that can be done. Another trip is being planned by the volunteers in order to purchase bigger items such as generators, family tents, duvets, and mattresses. Crucial items like this are still needed to ensure that those fleeing the conflict have a safe and comfortable place to stay. Although the trip will be self-funded, all future donations will be given to purchasing these items as well as aiding the Ukraine Appeal fund.
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23 03 2022