My story that brought me to Supply Ukraine, Paul England
I thought I’d post a proper update, since I fell asleep right after dropping the Ukrainian family off and getting home last night.
It wasn’t the most organised of ideas on my behalf, but that was sort of the point. I was near Łódź in central Poland for a funeral, * and was going to be driving 1200km back west anyway. I was about 400km away from the border, and just thought “why not”, which is what led me to posting on Facebook. I thought if I got a few donations then I could put this with my own money, and hopefully make more of an impact together.
In the end I received a total of close to €1000, and for something that was very spur of the moment, it’s been very pleasantly surprising and humbling to see so many people chip in. Of course there are other ways to help, such as actual charities, so I want to thank everyone for putting their trust in me.
I used some of this money to buy supplies and headed to the border. It was chaos but organised chaos, once I’d told them where I was heading I was assigned a family, my details were recorded along with who I was carrying and away from the border we went.
The family I picked up didn’t speak English, and I don’t speak Ukrainian, so communication was all done through Google Translate. There was a young girl, her Mother, Grandmother and their dog. I hope that I’ve done everything to make their journey to The Netherlands as comfortable as possible. They are now safe and sound with friends and family, thanks to you all, around 24 hours after picking them up.
Of course, as well as helping them, you’ve managed to help countless others with the diapers, sanitary products, toiletries, warm clothes, socks and underwear, waterproof boots and other items that were bought and donated.
I’ve included everything that was spent below:
€350 on fuel. Getting from Korczowa to Amsterdam was about 1600km, with a brief pit stop in Poznań to donate to the camp in my family’s city. For anyone that doesn’t know, I was borrowing a petrol car as my Tesla is currently in for service.
€350 on supplies, the majority of which went to Hala Kijowska.
€100 on a hotel for the family I picked up. They’d been at Hala Kijowska without proper beds and a shower for 2 weeks. The drive to Amsterdam would have been around 15 hours straight, so I thought it would be safer and nicer for all to be fresh and well rested. Hotels around the Ukrainian border were all either fully booked or extortionately expensive. It took a little bit of effort, but in the end I managed to find something decently priced that included a good breakfast and late checkout.
€100 on lunch and dinner for the family, and snack and drinks for the journey.
€30 on tolls to get through Poland quicker and more comfortably. For anyone who has been to Poland, you know how bad some of the back roads can be!
The remaining €80 came after I had already left Poznań, so I will make sure to put this to good use by donating it appropriately.
I have some work commitments coming up, but honestly… I want to go back. I want to be more organised, and liaise with the various charities and organisations I have made contact with in order to be more streamlined and cost efficient. Using an electric car will greatly reduce the costs of transporting people, so when the car is out of service I will arrange another trip, perhaps even into Ukraine.
Of course I’m only one person with a small car. There are vans, minibuses, buses, coaches and other forms of help that make a larger impact, but even just helping 3 people and their dog is life changing. I want to do as much as I can, as there are so many people without any form of hope. Unfortunately I don’t have somewhere for a family to live, and this is a large part of the problem. There are hundreds of thousands of people with nowhere to go.
This experience has put a lot of things into perspective for me. There are millions of people fleeing the Ukraine, but let’s not forget the other countries that are in conflict and turmoil around the world. There is so much good that we can do if we are willing to make sacrifices and compromises, or even just donate a little bit of money to those willing and able to help. There are so many volunteers helping the people of Ukraine, and countless others assisting in other crises around the world.
I have had so many nice comments from people, but in reality all I’ve done is sacrifice 24 hours of my time in order to help 3 people and their dog who were in desperate need of help.
In the end, I know we all mean well, but it’s often easy to become disconnected from some of the atrocities that happen in the world. So many people and animals suffer for no reason. I’m in a privileged position to have a job and lifestyle that offers me a lot of spare time, so it’s time I use that privilege for good. For now the focus is on the people of Ukraine, but I want to do more with my life to help people and animals all around the world.
I know that I haven’t done enough good with my life in the past. Being half Polish, this is emotionally and geographically very close to home, so this has been what has pushed me to get up and finally do something. There’s no point in regretting the past; we just have to do our best going forward. So, this is only the start for me.
I’ll do some research and prepare for my next trip. If you have any questions on how to help with the crisis in Ukraine, please send me a message and I’ll try to point you in the right direction. If you have any advice for me, please get in touch too.
Thank you again for your help. Together we can do so much more to help those less fortunate.