Donations spill over from community touched by suffering in Ukraine
On a normal day, in a normal time, the scene of bags and boxes spilling into the car park from Ballymena’s Rockfield Medical Centre would raise an eyebrow at such a sight. But these are not normal days nor times, since world superpower Russia invaded and declared war upon the peaceful people of Ukraine.
Over the last number of days the scenes of devastation and suffering from the eastern flank of the continent of Europe has touched many hearts. Across Northern Ireland communities have been moved and have mobilised to help in whatever way they can, with donation hubs springing up in many towns.
One of the hubs that have been established locally came about after Dr Monika Tobolska from Rockfield Medical Centre in Ballymena, along with sister Joanna Tobolska-Walczuk, made an appeal to the community for donations to help those impacted by the Russian aggression and have had to flee for their lives.
Launching the appeal at the weekend, Dr Monika Tobolska said:
“Lots of people, often with small children, are fleeing to the eastern border of Poland, near our hometown Lublin. We will be linking with the refugee centres located in and nearby.”
Since then donations have been flooding in from the community across Mid and East Antrim and the sisters today (Wednesday 2 March) told Love Ballymena “we have received a great response”.
Along with a team of local volunteers, Rockfield has been a hive of activity with receiving, sorting and packing hundreds of donations generously supplied by the community, including local businesses and organisations, in the hope of helping the people of Ukraine.
One pertinent and touching donation received of a blanket which belonged to a veteran of World War II, included a small pinned note that reads:
“My grandfather fought in the Battle of the Somme (WW2). This was his blanket, sent with love to you from Ireland.”
A lady contacted Love Ballymena on Tuesday and explained she was organising a collection and delivery of donations from her family and neighbours in the countryside outside Ballymena. She knew that they would want to play their part in helping but could find it difficult getting them delivered into town.
The first van load of donations will be leaving Ballymena on Thursday (3 March) destined for Izba Adwokacka in Lublin, Poland. There aid workers will distribute them to surrounding refugee centres receiving those who have had to flee the conflict in their Ukrainian homeland.
The team at Rockfield Medical Centre (73-75 Doury Road, Ballymena) will continue to receive donations, between 1pm - 6pm, up until Saturday 5 March.
The donation hub will be grateful for any of the following items:
• Clean blankets, bed clothes, sleeping bags
• Personal hygiene goods
• Ready to eat canned food not requiring heating or further cooking)
• Milk powder for babies
• Dressings, bandages (factory packed)
• Warm socks, new underwear (male, female and child)
• Toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, antiseptic hand gels/sprays etc)
• Toilet roll and paper towels, sanitary towels, wet wipes
• Paper plates, cups, single use cutlery etc.
• Dry food (fruits, nuts, crackers, cornflakes, rice crackers etc)
• Coffee, tea, salt, sugar
• Bottled water, juices and other beverages
Details of other donation hubs in Mid and East Antrim can be found by visiting the link below: