Our friend Igor introduced us to an area of need that has become one of our focuses going forward. Igor was incredibly reluctant to accept aid at first, but as he understood that we were all here with crowd sourcing and a desire to help, he got on board. He and his wife described the reality of the aid in Ukraine. They are from Kharkiv but Yulia traveled through Lviv to get to Poland. She was astounded at how obvious it was that some markets and stores were clearly selling items that had been received as aid. It must be obvious when a product is foreign and intended for children, for example, when such a product would never have been available there previously.
They had been working on distribution of food and just worried that any mass aid would never make it to Kharkiv. On a stroke of luck, I heard from Toni at the German desk that there's a distributor nearby going into Ukraine. People are constantly arriving with an awesome vanload of stuff they collected in their hometown but the usual request is that it go into Ukraine and not to our Centre here in Poland. Well now, with the help of this distribution centre we can get photographic evidence of aid being delivered to an address.
Our focus for this project is to have volunteers listening to people at the Centre and if there is a need, they can make a list, give us an address and name, and we can source and pay for secure delivery. This is a game changer for our desire to help the people who aren't in the mainstream. It may be a rural family that has no access to military gear but they are right in a position to need to defend their country. It could be people who know their loved ones have worn gear and just need a replacement that hasn't come.
Small-batch, family-to-family aid is a gap we aim to fill.