A Dumbarton couple who appealed for vital supplies to help desperate Ukrainians fleeing Russian forces have left overwhelmed by the “magnificent” community effort.
Thousands have fled to the border with Poland where camps have been set up – with volunteers pleading for warm clothes, baby essentials and medicine.
Putin’s military invasion has seen a number of cities across the country targeted with the UN reporting 1.5 million have fled to neighboring countries.
Gregor and Ewelina Grzegorczyk launched a collection drive an enlisted the help of volunteers to help those displaced and the public answered their call in droves – donating for those forced to flee their homes.
Facebook appeal Szkocja pomaga Ukrainie – Scotland Helps Ukraine – now has over 4,600 members with people across the country getting behind the appeal.
The big-hearted couple have been juggling the appeal with running their own business and looking after their three children.
Their catering firm supplies Polish food to shops and they reached out to their contacts in the transport industry, who agreed to make the journey.
The response to their appeal was so huge they had to find storage units after their Castlehill home became packed to the rafters with bags of donations.
Gregor, 36, told the Lennox Herald: “Ewelina is behind this as she is originally from Przemysl, which is in Poland and borders Ukraine.
“It is where many Ukrainians have gone to and she felt like she had to do something to help.
“After the invasion, she set up a Facebook page appealing for supplies and within the first few days we had hundreds of messages.
“We made contact with a charity in Poland and asked them what they needed and they said they needed a lot of things, especially bandages and medicines.
“We put a list together and posted on the group.
“We’ve been supported by the whole of Scotland and after we started our appeal, many others followed us.
“The response has been magnificent and we’ve had to stop collecting because we’ve been overloaded.
“It’s lovely how people have reacted so quickly. When people come together like this it is really powerful.”
The couple eventually had to find units for all the supplies and reached out to St Michael’s Parish Church in Dumbarton, which provided their garage for use.
Gregor said: “Our home had about one-and-a-half tonnes of collections so we were really grateful to the priest there for letting us use their double garage.
“We also have units in Wishaw and lots of volunteers.
“We’ve been able to arrange three lots of transport, one direct to Ukraine and one two to Poland.
“We’ve had lots of support.”
The couple give a special thanks to volunteers Karolina Wincek, Iwona Łaskawska, Ewa rogos-Chuchro, Romek Lejszo, Bogusława Borys, Kasia Zetka and Magda Gniewek for their help.
Gregor added: “Thank you to the transport companies Maja UK Trans Ltd, Olivpol and MJM transport and also to ADP Aluminum Wishaw, which paid for one of the transports and organized two units for the goods.
“Bartek Stirlitz at Monklands Hospital also organized all of the medicines.
“We are sorting through everything left now ready for the next transport to take and if there is anything left over we will need to decide what to do with them, whether there are any other organizations we can help, such as the local foodbanks.
He added: “If we need to keep going we will need to think about setting up a charity but for now we are focussing on delivering what we have collected and we will see what happens from there.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.