Donation centers have been swamped with medical and health essentials, food, clothing, bedding and messages of love, not only for the people of Ukraine but their pets too
Image: Jana Cavojska/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock)
As the Russian invasion enters its 12th day, more than 1.3 million Ukrainians have fled their homeland and crossed borders in search of safety elsewhere.
Fearing for their lives, many left with just the clothes on their backs.
Others managed to bring their beloved cats and dogs – and now one chain store has sent what is believed to be the ‘West’s largest single donation’ of pet food.
It will be shipped to Poland by drivers from Northern Ireland’s Polish community and distributed by a Romanian charity Casa lui Patrocle – Animal Rescue, a non-governmental and non-profit organization on the ground with refugees.
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The donation is led by chain Jollyes the Pet People who have joined forces with pet food manufacturer Mackle to tackle the ongoing crisis.
The pair have donated 5,000 tins of wet food and tonnes of dry food, while Jollyes has become a drop-off point for donations from members of the public, BelfastLive reports.
Regional manager, Laura May Hadden, said the chain was happy to help.
Laura said: “We can only imagine the impact of what’s happening in Ukraine right now.
“We’ve seen the pictures of those looking for sanctuary in neighboring countries, getting in their cars or on trains with their families and pets and heading to the border with little more than the clothes on their backs.”
Images of families fleeing their homes with children and the elderly have created heartache and anger across the world as men stay behind to try to defend their country from Putin’s invading forces.
And it is the footage of Ukrainians choosing to take pets and pet carriers over personal belongings, that has triggered deep emotions in many who question how they would manage if they were faced with the same situation.
In Northern Ireland, donation centers have been swamped with medical and health essentials, food, clothing, bedding and messages of love, not only for the people of Ukraine but their pets too.
Emily Finney from Gusberts cafe in East Belfast created a collection point for pet donations and said the response has been phenomenal.
She said: “We’ve been inundated, swamped and our heads are spinning but we’re so grateful and just delighted.”
The cafe owner added: “It’s hard to estimate how much is needed so we will have to see how far the physical food and bedding donations stretch and we’ll continue to take cash donations which we can send on to the charities on the ground.
“Our Paypal account for anyone who wants to donate for the fuel costs remains active and is at [email protected]”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.