Rotary Club of Coquitlam helps fund humanitarian aid in Ukraine

Dmitry Alexeev with his VW van. photo supplied

It’s bad all the way but it’s worst at the last mile.

There are people in need in Ukraine, Dmitry Alexeev explains. Often, the things they need are close – just not close enough.

Food, hygiene, products, clothes and medical supplies are kept in warehouses near Ukraine’s border with Poland; hopefully out of the range of Russian missiles. Volunteers load up at those warehouses and truck that aid to Ukrainians surviving in cities and villages near the front line.

But over the journey, those volunteers risk losing their cargo, their transport and even their lives, Alexeev explains.

“It is clear that it is impossible to physically protect people or their transport, but it is possible to reduce the risks of volunteers,” Alexeev wrote in an email to the Dispatch.

The most efficient vehicles are diesel-powered cargo vans like the Ford Transporter, according to Alexeev. However, in order to pay for those vans, Alexeev would need support. As a member of the Rotary Club of Kyiv, he reached out to other rotary clubs.

There was a Rotary Club in Germany that could handle the actual purchase of the vans, as well as transportation as far as the Ukrainian border. However, the project still required an infusion of cash.

In June, Alexeev reached out to honorary Rotary Club of Coquitlam member Bernie Pregler.

Pregler brough the idea to the Rotary Club board, who approved the project and donated $5,000 to get things moving.

“The response has been phenomenal, and in six weeks we have now raised over $74,000,” wrote Rotary Club of Coquitlam past president Ron Warneboldt, noting that the campaign has brought in donations from clubs and individuals across B.C. and in Washington state.

That money will pay for seven vans.

“Many thanks to people, parliaments and governments of friendly countries that sends hundreds ton of different humanitarian cargo to Ukraine,” Alexeev wrote.

photo supplied

The fundraising campaign will continue, Warneboldt added, explaining that the club is planning to send a second wire transfer near the end of August.

Donations can be sent to rotary club treasurer Insuk Lee via [email protected]

Donations over $20 can receive a charitable tax receipt if requested, and if one is requested donors should include their legal names, email addresses and postal mail address.

For more information on the campaign, click here.

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