How you can help people in Ukraine - Halifax businessman whose relatives are fighting on front line helps organise massive aid collection

Desperate to help in any way they can, Calderdale people have been flocking to give to aid collections for Ukraine.

By sarah fitton
Wednesday, 2nd March 2022, 2:07 pm

The biggest operation is being organised by Halifax Ukrainian Club and Halifax-based waste recycling firm The Leo Group, who have pledged to continue sending lorries with supplies to help people fleeing the Russian invasion for as long as they are needed.

A drop-off session has been taking place today (Wednesday) at Swalesmoor Road but organisers have this afternoon said they have run out of storage space and are asking people to hold onto donations until next week.

The club posted on social media: "People of Halifax and surrounding areas you really are amazing. Thank you so very much for your kind and generous donations.

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Volunteers help sort donations for the Halifax Ukrainian Club and Leo Group aid collection for people fleeing Russian invasion of Ukraine

"We have had people queuing on the road to drop off their wonderful donations and it really does make our hearts swell.

"Unfortunately, at the moment, we are running out of storage space and need to keep space for our wonderful volunteers to be able to sort and pack all your donations, in order to transport them.

"To anyone still planning on donating, we honestly cannot take them at the moment. Please could you keep them until Monday, when we will be arranging for another lorry to transport them.

"We will update you further with times. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you again."

Volunteers sort donations to Halifax Ukrainian Club and Leo Group's collection of aid for people fleeing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Dean Clough in Halifax is also taking donations for the collection at its main reception in D Mill until Friday.

Organisers are appealing for ladies' and children's clothing, toothbrushes and toothpaste, nappies, wet wipes, blankets, sleeping bags and toiletries.

Danny Sawrij, Leo Group Managing Director and whose father was Ukrainian, has family in the country fighting on the front line.

"I have family ties to Ukraine," he said. "My father was Ukrainian and I grew up with traditional Ukrainian values.

"In today’s day and age, I cannot believe how one individual can bring such pain and heartache to people who have showed absolutely no aggression or provocation.

"I am in regular contact with members of my own family who are still living in Ukraine, they are fighting on the front line as we speak!

"Ukrainians don’t deserve to go through any of this and they should not have to.

"It is heartbreaking to see on a daily basis and we all have to do whatever we can to help them, they are only two hours away on an airplane from the UK.

"I have been overwhelmed by all the volunteers and donations pouring in over the last two days, and we have our first container leaving shortly.

"We have started the momentum and we now have to carry it on for the coming days, months and years and keep going it until Putin leaves the country.

Chair of Halifax Ukrainian Club Loretta Cooper said the support from people had shown Ukrainians they are not alone: “We’ve been moved by the incredible response from people all over Calderdale and beyond.

“From children using their pocket money to buy toys to pensioners putting £10 in an envelope, it has shown our relatives that we are in touch with back home they are not isolated, that the world cares.

"We are proud of Halifax, Yorkshire and this country - a country where our families, our parents and grand parents made their home."

Among those who have donated to the collection is Yorkshire Soap Company, who have stores in The Piece Hall and Hebden Bridge and have made 4,000 soap bars to send over to people fleeing Ukraine.

Ivan Kuzio, from Halifax Ukrainian Association, said: "The response from all sections and groups within Calderdale and the UK has been amazing.

"This is a David versus Goliath moment. Good versus evil. Democracy versus autocracy.

"Ukraine as everyone sees it is fighting not just for itself but for peace and democracy in Europe."

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