How you can help people of Ukraine - volunteers still needed as eight tons of aid collected in Halifax

More volunteers are needed to help sort through and pack a staggering collection of aid for Ukraine in Halifax.

By sarah fitton
Friday, 11th March 2022, 1:30 pm

An estimated eight tons of supplies have been donated so far to the appeal run by Halifax Ukrainian Club and The Leo Group providing vital help to people from the besieged country.

They have had to pause accepting donations again for now, but are still in need of people to help sort and pack items.

Anyone who can help with volunteering can drop in to D Mill via Gate One at Dean Clough, Monday to Friday, between 9.30am and 7pm. The hub will not be open this weekend.

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Boxes of aid for Ukraine ready to be loaded on to the lorry at Dean Clough in Halifax yesterday.

Halifax Ukrainian Club will post updates about items it needs once it is collecting again on its Facebook page. There will also be more information about volunteering on there.

A second lorry of aid, loaded with over 1,000 boxes, set off from Dean Clough, where collections are being stored, yesterday for the border between Poland and Ukraine.

The aid is being sent to a warehouse on the Polish border, with hopes that, if it is safe to do so, some may make its way into Ukraine.

Michael Dean, part of the organising committee, is a third generation Ukrainian. Speaking from Dean Clough yesterday, he said: “We’re going to have five wagons, and we’ve had over 100 people today to come to volunteer.

Volunteers sort and pack up boxes of aid for Ukraine at Dean Clough in Halifax yesterday

“We’ve had people come from Settle, York, Leeds. Everyone that has come has been brilliant, there’s been no slackers and everyone’s getting on, pulling their weight and doing what they can.

I’m getting two or three hours sleep at night. We don’t want to mess this up - people need what we’re doing.

“It’s humbling. The community spirit is incredible.”

The spirit of the community has shone with volunteers telling of finding handwritten notes to Ukrainians in their donations, in some cases by children who have given up their toys.

More than 1,000 boxes were packed up on the lorry which left Dean Clough in Halifax yesterday

But alongside the boxes of clothes, toys and toiletries, a small room has been designated for the collection of sombre items that bring home the scale of the conflict.

Bulletproof vests sat in a neat pile, next to a box of helmets and torch headlights and a collection of crutches and stretchers for people injured while fleeing violence.

Destined for civilians, not soldiers, who have told organisers they feel they need armoured vests, they serve as a stark reminder of the danger millions of Ukrainians are now experiencing as daily reality.

“Effectively, this is war work,” said Jeremy Conway, a 58-year-old retired IT consultant who turned up on Thursday to volunteer.

Volunteers sort and pack donations of aid for Ukraine at Dean Clough in Halifax yesterday

“I just saw the request on Facebook asking people to come along, and I’m just astounded by the amount of goodwill there is.

“I’ve been making boxes up - there’s three of us calling ourselves Tape That.

“It’s difficult to get your head around.

“Who would have thought in the 21st century we’d be doing this?

“But I’d rather be doing something than nothing.

“It’s better to be busy and feeling like you’re making a difference.”

It’s a sentiment shared by the 150 others who have found themselves, in the space of a few days, experts in logistics.

“I was a bit nervous to start with,” said stay-at-home mother Alex Cooper, 29. “But I’ve just picked it up.

“Now I’m a supervisor, and we’ve just found a strategy.

“I just imagine how I’d feel in that position. As a single mum with three children, I’d be scared. If I can do anything to help anybody, then I will.”