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Urgent supplies on their way to refugees

Ukraine relief group overwhelmed and grateful for amazing community support

A truck is on its way to the Polish/ Ukraine border with urgent supplies including nappies and baby milk thanks to the generous support of High Chelmer shoppers and the amazing work of Sylwia Switaj- Abrahams and her team from the Polish Deli and Katarzyna Hac.

Yesterday (Wednesday 8th) a truck left High Chelmer packed to the rafters – 20 palettes – with urgent supplies all packed up by Sylwia and other volunteers.

All of the supplies have been collected over the past week and stored within the shopping centre. They are now on the way to people who need them through the charity Foundation Ukraine who are based in Wroclaw, Poland.

Sylwia Switaj-Abrahams, The Polish Deli explained how this all happened, Sylwia said: “A friend and ex colleague – Katarzyna Hac – on day two of the War in Ukraine asked if I would be able to help with an appeal to collect urgent items for those in need who are fleeing Ukraine and arriving in Poland with nothing.

“Katarzyna had started coordinating the collections and organised the shipment with Foundation Ukraine but needed a drop-off point and somewhere to store all of the donations.

“I immediately said yes and since then it has been truly overwhelming the support the community has shown.”

“At first we thought maybe we would get a few palettes but the supplies just kept coming. We regularly updated our Facebook page to highlight what we needed and people have been so generous.

“It very quickly became too much for my shop – The Polish Deli – to store the donations and that’s where Mick and his team stepped in. They have been great in giving us the space and resource to sort the donations, store them and then finally load them.

“We stopped requesting items when we knew we had filled the truck – which was so kindly lent to us and driven by Dariusz Sikorski – and now we are looking at other ways to support the humanitarian efforts.”

Mick McDonagh centre manager added: “It’s been really moving to see the outpouring of support for the appeal. It’s a small way we can all help and feel we are doing something useful. To see the huge truck filled with essential items and know that in just a few days it will be with the people who really need it was a great feeling.

“I can’t thank all of our shoppers and community enough for their support and think Sylwia and the team of volunteers have done a wonderful job. Also special thanks to members of the High Chelmer team, who devoted all their free time to assist and Marlborough Highways for the free loan of a forklift truck to load the vehicles.

“We are working with charities and charitable organisations now to look at other ways to support the ongoing crisis and, whilst we do this, we would suggest that anyone that wants to help but wasn’t able to donate via DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee).”

Due to the overwhelming number of donations a second truck is coming to the centre next week to take the last 10 palettes to those in need.

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