Hall Grove's Response to the Ukraine Crisis
When we first appealed to the Hall Grove Community, the response was - as we knew it would be, given the quality of the parent body - incredible. £31,000 was raised in 48 hours, and the total has been climbing ever since. At the time of writing, £46,000 worth of donations have been made to our Just Giving page.
Our efforts were shaped by the need to move quickly, to avoid waste, and to make sure that any money spent would directly help those whose lives have been shattered by the war in Ukraine. Through a Hall Grove parent, Agi Miel, we made contact with an incredible brother and sister team based in Gliwice, Poland, who have taken on the responsibility of directly housing 18 women and children, and also actively supporting a much wider network of approximately 150 other refugees. Marta and Tomac, who in their normal lives work as a solicitor and estate agent respectively, dropped everything when war broke out, and they haven't looked back since. Like many others in Poland, when asked why they chose to do this, the answer is a very simple 'it is our duty to help'.
An immediate priority was to send supplies directly to the rented property housing 18 women and children. This house also doubles as a distribution hub for the local area, from which Marta and Tomac send daily food parcels to families. It was also important to try to deliver humanitarian supplies across the border into Ukraine itself, and this was achieved through Tomac's network of friends and colleagues in Ukraine, who now find themselves working as medics or delivery drivers, when only weeks ago their lives revolved around the school run and the daily commute. This informal network in Ukraine is in fact being run by a priest, Father Eduard Piuro, who uses his church as a distribution hub. How things have changed so dramatically in such a short space of time.
Just under £10,000 was spent on buying supplies for our convoy. The value of goods was likely doubled or even trebled thanks to the generous donations of items made by Hall Grove parents. When we made the request, you responded.
We, therefore, have approximately £35,000 left to help those affected by the war. We have decided to use this money principally to support Tomac and Marta's amazing relief efforts in Poland. Up to this point, they have been paying for everything with their own savings, which is clearly unsustainable. We are delighted to report that the first monthly payment of £4000 has already been made, and we can all be assured that this money is going to make a massive and direct difference to the lives of many, many people. But of course, we aren't going to stop there. Hall Grove has made contact with the local school in Gliwice, whose numbers have of course swelled with Ukrainian refugees, and we will look at ways in which we can support the school. We will be in regular contact with Tomac and Marta, and as the situation in Poland and Ukraine develops over time, we will tailor our support and response.
We should all be very proud of our collective efforts in fundraising, and also delivering supplies to Poland and Ukraine. However, this is only the beginning of the journey. Even if the fighting stops tomorrow, many of the refugees in Poland no longer have houses, or husbands and fathers, to return to. It is our hope that many of you will want to sign up to a subscription service on the Just Giving page. All you need to do is click on the link below, and select 'donate monthly':
If enough people sign up and give a small monthly total (no amount is too small), then our cash reserves will continue to rise, rather than dwindle away, leaving us best placed to make a significant difference in Ukraine itself, post-conflict.
Please see the video below, which was taken by Marta and Tomac yesterday. I think you will agree that these are wonderful people.
On behalf of the amazing network of volunteers who made all this possible.