Ukrainian author visits Banbury charity that delivers aid shipments to his homeland
Andrey Kurkov visited the aid charity run by Magdalena Kwiecinska, which is based out of the old Debenhams store in town on Friday October 28.
Hope and Help together use the old department store building to sort the donations gifted to them from across the country before delivering them to locations in Ukraine and Poland where items such as food, clothes and medical equipment are most needed.
Last Friday’s visit consisted of Andrey taking a tour of the site and speaking with several volunteers and refugees that are involved with the charity, while also signing copies of his latest book, “Diary of an Invasion”, which looks at the Russo-Ukrainian War from his own perspective.
Speaking on BBC Radio Oxford, Andrey said: “It’s incredible, they have invested their lives to help the Ukrainians. There are letters and messages from Ukrainian civilians and soldiers with extreme gratitude, as well as a signed Ukrainian flag from soldiers who received medical help and bandages, which are very much needed on the frontlines.
“It almost makes me cry, it’s so touching. Every time I see a Ukrainian flag in Britain or in Banbury, I almost feel at home. The fact that people are thinking about people in Ukraine makes me feel very grateful.”
The charity, which recently won a BBC Make A Difference Award, is desperately appealing for winter donations of long-life food, candles, generators and sleeping bags among other items as they prepare another convoy of vans to deliver aid in the coming weeks.
Magdalena said: “It was a great privilege to meet Andrey. We all thank him for his time and interest in what we do and how we do it.
"We talked about his last book, Ukraine and how he is thinking about the future of his country, which he is very positive about, as are many Ukrainians now after the new liberations of lots of towns and villages.”
To donate to Hope and Help Together, people can visit the old Debenhams unit in Castle Quay on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 11-5:30, Fridays at 12-5 and Saturdays between 11-2.
Alternatively, people can donate via the charity’s GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/f/bucza-bucha-banbury-ukraine