Generous industry helps Ukraine

On 24th February, the unbelievable news started to come through the feared conflict in Ukraine had started with Russian strikes. Prompting the mass migration of millions of Ukrainians, the need for supplies and support was instant and great.

The promotional merchandise industry was ready to respond with offers of goods that could help – but where to send them and how?

Giving World, just one of the charities involved in supporting Ukrainians said ‘Barely a week on, Giving World (GW) received a cry out for instant food and drink and other essential supplies, as the refugees began pouring into Poland and the ability to get vital supplies for those in Ukraine became ever more tricky. Although somewhat out of character as our core focus is alleviating poverty in the UK, however flexibility is key in the current climate. We are now global economies and the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is being felt around the world by every country and all peoples. So, we put a call out to our corporate donors... the response was overwhelming! Large and small, our fabulous network of companies quickly came to the aid of those suffering unimaginable horrors as donations of vital supplies came rolling in.’

Reaching out to the industry via the BPMA, Prominate linked with Giving World to provide a route for goods to reach those most in need. Offering to coordinate goods, Colette Jeanes at Prominate was staggered by the response.

‘Big thank you to the BPMA and those who were able to help Prominate in supporting Giving World by getting goods together for the trucks bound to those impacted by the War in Ukraine. Our Industry amazed me with their generosity, shout outs to Formkraft, Oldeani, Roantree, IfSolutions, Aardvark Promotions, Bio Labs, Jute Bag, Xindao, Firebrand Promotions, Sharon Lee, Marke Creative, Kingly and many others too. Rama, from Giving World, went out a few weeks ago and following her visit she provided me with a report with some stories from those she met and the most key requirements now. From everything our industry donated we helped over 7000 people directly impacted by the war. Well done Promotional Merchandise Industry!’ Jeanes said, wanting to ensure Prominate were able to celebrate the amazing companies who got involved.

Aid to those who need it most

Giving World told us more about where supplies went and importantly who they were able to help.

‘Collaborating with our partners in Lublin and Chelm on the Polish/Ukraine border, Giving World has been rolling out trailers of instant noodles, soups, coffee, toiletries, clothing, bedding, medical hygiene supplies and much more to support refugees at the border and for onward distribution into Ukraine. To date, our donors have signed off almost half a million pounds worth of aid, sent in 3 x 40 feet containers through March and April. In line with our due diligence processes, we visited our partners in Lublin at the end of April. This is to ensure the effective distribution of valuable donations, and simultaneously understand and assess the ongoing need. Aid to Lublin, Poland Lublin is one of the biggest cities closest to the Polish/Ukraine border, approximately 60 miles from the border at Dorohusk. Most of the Ukrainian refugees coming into Poland were redirected on through Lublin, approximately 60,000 have remained in Lublin. We met refugee beneficiaries of the aid sent.

Helping young men like 17 year old Valeri was important. He was studying law in Kiev when he had to flee with his mother and siblings. He was on the verge of tears as he shared how he missed his father, grandparents and his friends, who are all now dispersed. On the cusp of adulthood, his future heavily disrupted and uncertain. And we met families from Kovel (one mother and her 2 daughters pictured right). Kovel is a City north west of Kyiv. Many of the City’s outlaying villages and towns lie less than 5km from the Belarus border. It’s on that border that Russian troops were amassing, launching missile attacks and combat aircraft. The daily air raid sirens in and around the area reigned so much terror that thousands of women and children fled.

We heard many more stories of plight and flight. A primary school teacher who fled Dnipro (SE Ukraine) with her elderly mother, now living in a makeshift container but she was still teaching her dispersed class of 27 7–8-year-olds online! A mum with two young boys are now waiting for the end of the war to be reunited with her husband and start a new life in Poland. Most of the women and children we met however want to go back home as soon as the war is over.’

World Giving also reported the changing needs of Ukraine. ‘During our visit the shortage of food was repeatedly highlighted. They emphasised they no longer need ladies and children’s clothing, only men’s clothing and shoes for the front line. The need of the hour is food. Foods that are quick and easy and only require hot water like noodles, soups and pastas.’

If you would like to support this initiative, you can visit givingworld.co.uk or visit Disasters Emergency Committee (dec.org.uk) to donate.