Polish community gets into top gear with Banbury area residents as relief aid is collected to help the desperate refugees fleeing Ukraine
Coordinator Magdalena Kwiecińska and a large team of volunteers have been sorting through countless deliveries of clothes, bedding, toiletries, medical products, nappies, baby food and other items needed by hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians being held in transit tent villages on the borders of Ukraine and Poland.
Mrs Kwiecińska spoke today (Friday) with the mayors of the appropriate towns in Poland to ensure the Banbury lorries have the necessary permits to travel to the crisis points. She said the consignments have been given consent to travel as humanitarian aid.
The widespread desire to help the Ukrainian refugees was encapsulated in a heartfelt message from one Polish donor to his or her neighbours, written on the label of a bag - 'things are bad now and we stand with you - but they will get better'.
She said with more news coming out of Ukraine every hour, the focus of the Banbury collection has shifted temporarily away from items such as clothing, bedding and infant transport seats to medical supplies. The collection of the domestic items will continue in the coming days.
"We have received an update from the hospital in Kyiv and Lviv that medical supplies are urgently needed. Some of the items on the list might not normally be available but we will gratefully accept any that do become available and these are a priority," she said. "We have been promised some supplies from medical sources in Oxfordshire but if anyone can offer any of the list below it would be fantastic."
The list includes surgical clothes, sterile gloves, tactical tourniquets, veneers for vents, needles, syringes and medicines of all sorts. These will be distributed by trained medical staff.
The group is also very keen to accept over-the-counter medical supplies such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, antacids, cold treatments, Calpol and other every-day remedies.
There is also an urgent appeal for torches and batteries.
Volunteers have been hard at work at the Longford Park Community Centre which is the hub for sorting and packing donated items ready for dispatch. The closed, marked boxes are being taken down to Magenta near Banbury Gateway to be stored ready for the first lorry to be loaded and sent to Poland on Friday.
The group has formed a volunteers rota run by Anna Borek. Those wanting to take on a shift should go to https://www.facebook.com/banburyforukraine to offer their time.
The Banbury for Ukraine group was set up a week ago by Mrs Kwiecińska as the Polish community in town decided they wanted to help their neighbours in Ukraine who were fleeing Russian attacks.