Communities in Boston respond to the Ukraine crisis and show their support

Communities across the Boston area have responded to the Russia-Ukraine crisis with a mixture of horror, sadness and a determination to help.

Handout photo issued by Maia Mikhaluk of damage to property in Kyiv, Ukraine, caused by an explosion during Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Issue date: Friday February 25, 2022.
Handout photo issued by Maia Mikhaluk of damage to property in Kyiv, Ukraine, caused by an explosion during Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Issue date: Friday February 25, 2022.

The Russian invasion has lead to thousands of Ukrainians fleeing their homes and making their way across the border to neighbouring countries such as Poland and Romania.

Many have young children and pets with them and are in need of vital supplies.

Now members of Boston’s diverse community are rallying around to arrange collections of donations to be sent out to families who have crossed the border to Poland.

Patsie Marson, of Community Support Group, with half of the donations that have been received so far at their temporary collection unit at Boston Shopping Park.

Patsie Marson and the team of six at Community Support Group in Boston have been working with Polish national Natalia Bartkowiak to coordinate the relief effort.

Patsie said: “I’m sure most of you have shed tears watching the heartbreaking scenes coming from the Ukraine and the poor families leaving everything they own and their loved ones behind to fight.

“Ukrainian refugees have crossed the border into Poland who have welcomed them with open arms, but they are going to need supplies and this is where we can all help.”

The team has set up a collection point at an empty unit between TKMaxx and HomeBargains at Boston Shopping Centre, off Horncastle Road.

Refugees fleeing the Ukrainian city of Lviv towards the Polish boarder following Russia's invasion of Ukriane. Photo by Manny Marotta. Picture date: Friday February 25, 2022.

“We’ve had lots of people dropping in with donations and offering to help with volunteering, said Patsie.

“The support has been fantastic.”

The collection unit will be open for donations between 9.30am-5pm, Monday to Thursday. It is hoped the items will be picked up on Friday to be sent out to Poland.

Boston Stump and St Guthlac’s Church in Fishtoft are also supporting the appeal by offering to take in donations.

The following items are needed: nappies, wipes, nappy cream, calpol, paracetamol, toothbrushes, toothpaste, ladies sanitary items, deoderant, shampoo, baby food jars, tinned milk,baby bottles, children’s small toys and activities such colouring books, towels, protein bars, pet food, bandages, plasters, batteries, sleeping bags, blankets, flasks, thermal mugs, disposable cutlery, plates and cups.

They are not accepting donations of clothes at this stage.

Patsie added: “Please donate and help these people that are living this nightmare.”

Other groups and businesses across the borough are also trying to do their bit to help.

The Little Kitchen cafe in Boston town centre and Pilgrim Auctions (present at Wednesday’s town market) are also among those offering to be a collection point for donations.

Speaking to the Standard last week, Natalia Bartkowiak, who lives in Wyberton, said: “I am very proud of Poland’s response to the crisis, but I am scared that this conflict will spread across to Poland where all my family live.

“My mum’s friend is from Ukraine, and she has told me that this woman was in tears all day as her mum lives alone near Kyiv, there is no transport so she can’t go anywhere.

“She is devastated as she also has her pets there and a house she put lots of money to renovate. Horrible stories.”