In March 2022 following the Russian invasion of Ukraine we founded a small grass-roots initiative based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, called YEG4UKRAINE. Within a span of 3 weeks, we started a Go Fund Me page and raised over $100K for a humanitarian aid mission. We collected donated items as well as procured urgently needed medical supplies and tactical first aid kits. These items were packed into more than 50 suitcases which 6 team members transported to Poland on April 1st, 2022, where they were picked up and taken directly into Ukraine for use. The team on the ground was Pawel and Nestor Turczyk (brothers) and Tim, Daniel, and James Sousa (brothers), from Edmonton, and Elliott Thorpe (Tim’s brother-in-law from Halifax, NS). The men spent almost 3 weeks based in Przemysl on the border between Poland and Ukraine: purchasing and transporting life-saving medical devices and tactical supplies; helping at and re-stocking the local refugee center with new sheets for the cots, soccer balls for the kids to play with and other supplies; and, transporting refugees between the border, train station, refugee centers, and to be reunited with friends and family as far away as Germany. Back at home, their families coordinated additional logistics, procurement, social media, finances, etc.
During this time we learned a ton, and together with our friends at “Ukrainian Volunteers of Edmonton” have built a strong network for medical supply transport into Ukraine. We have been fortunate to be able to share the stories of how quickly the supplies we procure go directly into the hands of the military and hospitals in Ukraine via our social media accounts (@yeg4ukraine). Since we are a small group, we have been able to act quickly and efficiently, responding to needs as they arrive and putting supplies into the hands of those who need them in record time – a contrast to many other large-scale organizations with greater overhead burden. Additionally, having team members with project management, finance, logistics and procurement background has made us an effective team for this task.
As such, now that everyone is back home, together with their families they have decided that there is too much more work to be done to stop now! So, we will be continuing to raise money and utilize our networks to procure the most needed supplies for immediate transport into Ukraine. We will continue to report on our progress and the impact of the donors who are making this initiative possible.
We sincerely want to thank everyone that has and can contribute by donating and sharing this effort widely through your networks and on social media. Donations can be made through e-transfer or online here!