Ukraine refugee crisis: Polish centre appeals for volunteers amid flood of donations

Volunteers of LPC House Pic: Lewisham Polish Centre

The Lewisham Polish Centre has become one of London’s hubs for collecting aid parcels – including baby milk, soup and first aid products – to be shipped to Poland to help support the Ukrainian refugees flooding into the country.

The charity, based in Forest Hill, has already received a great number of donations and support from the local community, but are desperate for more volunteers to help out as the donations continue to flood in.

”Help does not have nationality – just a human face. People act from their hearts, just to help others in need”

In a statement on their website, Lewisham Polish Centre said: “We are overwhelmed by your response to our call to help people of Ukraine. LPC House has seen the action as never before – mountains of donations being sorted and packed by volunteers choosing to spend their weekend helping others.”

The centre is coordinating the relief effort in collaboration with the Polish British Social Integration Club Wawel, a charity that is helping with the logistics and transportation of the goods through the borders on the way to Poland, with the support of the Ukrainian embassy and Ukrainian nationals.

LPC House is located at 8 Waldram Park, SE23 2PN, and due to the great number of donations coming from the community, they are now collecting every day.

“We are getting donations and messages from a whole spectrum of people which demonstrates that help does not have nationality – just a human face. People act from their hearts, just to help others in need. They oppose this invasion, this war – staged by a delusioned dictator and his cronies, not by the Russian nation whose people are happy to coexist with their Ukrainian neighbours. We receive messages from our Russian friends of being ashamed of that war staged by their state – it is not in their name, not with their assent,” said the statement.

Volunteers Packing Boxes Pic: Lewisham Polish Centre

Vicky Foxcroft, MP for Lewisham Deptford, and the Lewisham Council have both been supporting the efforts of the centre on social media.

Lewisham Council Tweeted saying: “As the UK’s first Borough of Sanctuary, we stand ready to welcome Ukrainian refugees in Lewisham. Lewisham Polish Centre is organising aid for refugees arriving in Poland from Ukraine. ”

Lewisham Council was awarded the London Borough of Sanctuary title in 2021, for “welcoming those fleeing violence and persecution in their own countries and protecting the rights of all migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees.”

“We witness the horrors of war from the first raw seat. We see innocent people, children displaced from their homes, leaving all their belongings at a moment’s notice. Forced to run for their lives leaving their loved ones to fight for their country. We support Ukraine wholeheartedly, knowing that if Putin is not stopped – Poland could be next,” said LPC House. 

Agnieszka Lokaj, the chair of the centre, has been regularly updating the community through Livestreams on the centre’s Facebook Page. One clip shows a woman stopping traffic on a busy road to help back out the Luton vans as they set off for Poland.

Once sorted, some parcels will be transported directly to various locations on the Polish border – which is a journey that can take up to 24 hours. The other parcels will be delivered to the Ukrainian Social Club in Holland Park – where the amount of donations has been so large there has been a new space set up in an industrial warehouse nearby to deal with the excess.

Van packed for Poland. Pic: Lewisham Polish Club

Here is a list of the items that the centre are accepting (updated on their Facebook yesterday):

  • Sanitary products for women
  • First aid products
  • Celox (needed for wounded in hospitals)
  • Bandages
  • Hand and feet warmers
  • Powder milk for babies
  • Hygiene products
  • Baby wipes
  • Flash lights
  • Instant soups
  • Paper plates

“We are grateful for your help. Every single item donated by you is going to help Ukrainian people fleeing the war. Moreover, it spells hope and solidarity – the free world is not going to watch the invasion idly – we will do whatever we can to help Ukraine and its people. There is no Europe without a free and independent Ukraine,” said LPC House.

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