Alice Iwanejko and her family are encouraging people locally to donate necessities for Ukrainian’s who are deep in the midst of war against Russia. Alice’s connection to Ukraine is through her grandfather, who fled the country shortly after World War Two, following capture and placement in a concentration camp by the Russians. Her grandfather no longer lives in Ukraine but his siblings, who Alice and her family only very recently found out about are still occupants of the state. Members of the family are in parts of Ukraine that have been devastatingly ruined but Alice described the next steps moving forward.
“Some of our family live in Lviv, and others were stuck in Kiev because of petrol shortages.
“My mum and dad are in touch daily with the family we have in Ukraine, ensuring their safety and arranging travel for when that time comes. They’re very shaken up – following World War Two, I don’t think anybody expected anything like this again.
“The cause of them not being direct family relatives means that they can’t be transferred to the UK until the government allows them to come over. If they are allowed access, we hope to make accommodations, so they have somewhere to stay where they feel safe.”
After the Iwanejko’s discovered they still had family in Ukraine, Alice’s dad decided to share a Facebook post listing the basic provisions required and encouraged contributions. Having gathered a huge amount of produce from generous donations, Alice and her family load the goods onto a van which is then taken to a warehouse where it is stored and shipped to Ukraine. The reaction has been terrific as Alice explained the outcome as well as the ingenuity of the public.
“There has been a massive response – Ukrainian’s have been overwhelmed by the amounts of clothes and blankets donated but my dad’s post was to identify items you may not think about such as baby food and paracetamol.
“We are unable to take food over because of the custom laws in France but what we have received has been distributed amongst local food banks in this area.
“My local rugby club Dewsbury Moor did a big collection, and we didn’t expect the reaction we received. My mum has got quite a big car, but we had to take two cars as there were so many donations.
“People have gone so far to build medical packs where they have written the word ‘medical’ in Ukrainian.”
It’s a moment in time where countries all around the world are trying to support Ukraine and unite as one, and Alice in closing spoke of the impact our contributions can have.
“The donations will make a huge, huge difference. They are fleeing a country where they have left everything behind with the exception of a few clothes in a bag. Receiving simple necessities can relieve some stress on top of what they have already been through.
“I hope these donations will raise awareness and make people realise how big of a deal this is. We see it on the news and can’t quite comprehend how tragic the situation is.
“It’s having a huge effect on people’s lives and small donations that you can pick up on your local shop will make a massive difference to people who will be really grateful.”
Alice’s community club Dewsbury Moor have been accepting donations and will continue to do so until any further notice. At present, there is no deadline for making donations, but the item list has been limited down to medication, vitamins and medical equipment.
The address for the donation point is Dewsbury Moor Clubhouse, 229 Heckmondwike Rd, Dewsbury WF13 3NU.