A COMMUNITY of volunteers and dedicated workers are striving to help families who have fled their homes in Ukraine.
Workers from the Grange Foodshare and members of the community have raised thousands of pounds for those fleeing the conflict which began on February 24 when Russia invaded the country.
The conflict has seen the deaths of over 47,000 people while displacing 15,000,000 others.
Ania Krepa, who was born in Poland and has lived in Grange for 13 years, has visited the border to bring urgent supplies to refugees whilst also helping set up an outpost which would provide a safe place for families and civilians fleeing the violence.
Ania has been working with Rahina Borthwick of the Foodshare, and her sister Basia Nowak who has been instrumental in their fundraising efforts.
Their efforts have also been helped by their children.
Ania said: “We have been very active in the community, supporting those who need it.
“We have matched three families over the weekend alone.
“The situation in Ukraine is heart-breaking so seeing the community working together is amazing. It started out as a small cake sale and it grew from there to make over £17,000. We only aimed for £500 to start off.
“We have been to Poland at Easter, myself, and my sister with our children. Basia had found an old warehouse in our home town of Puławy. Not far from the border.
“Some of the volunteers there are old school friends of ours.
“It provided a safe place for people where we could give them food, shelter, clothing, Polish lessons, and anything else we could provide.
“We have recently been working to help disabled children in Ukraine. Life was hard for them before as they didn’t get a lot of support from the government beforehand.
“The new project is to bring refugees here. We have six or seven families currently as not everyone is here yet. We hope we find homes for all of them.
“I wrote an email on the second day of the war about what we happened to do at Easter. People really opened their hearts and it shows by how the community came together.
“There was a service station on the way to Warsaw that became an aid village. It was closed last week but it offered coach loads of people a place to rest, refuel and eat for the first time in a long time.
“I am proud of what the community has accomplished, and the Foodshare has been incredible to us.
“It is heart-breaking to see what is happening, especially in the 21st century.
“We work with many volunteers in UK, Poland and Ukraine who are doing a fantastic job helping from 1st day of this horrible war. They have not stopped and they want to keep helping.
“My sister Basia and me always do things together, but Basia focused a lot on transforming the old Warehouse to this beautiful free shop.
“My main focus now is to help find home for as many refugees as possible.”
Rahina Borthwick of the Grange Foodshare has worked to support the refugees and Ania in her work.
She said: “In the village were Ania is from there are no NGOs, and everything was funded by volunteers from Poland.
“People arrived with nothing clean, as many had travelled as they stood.
“We’re helping feed seven families who are living with hosts in the area.
“We’ve been around for four years and we’ve had great community support. One thing we’ve noticed is that when people first arrive, they are quite at first but soon they come to our activity clubs and they really open up.
“They feel safe and we want to give them what they need.
“It’s an incredible local thing and to see how much has been achieved in a short time is amazing.”
To support the group’s funding efforts please donate at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/anna-krepa-3/updates/7a4f7?utm_term=wvBD6BpBX&fbclid=IwAR3wvWLQgdKDXJR3rkSXWTZiJdkrB4OKYAyBCxPHX9k2AUAosEflB6XskEQ.