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Ukrainian charity leader thanks people of Middlesbrough

A Ukrainian charity leader has written to the people of Middlesbrough giving thanks for their generosity in supplying vital aid.

Gennadiy Mokhnenko, Director of the Mariupol charity organisation Piligrim, has sent a formal letter to Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston, Middlesbrough Council staff and volunteers who collected and supplied goods to his under siege city.

In March Middlesbrough Council agreed to help a collection campaign organised by Ukrainian families living locally and Mayor Preston urged local people to give what they could.

Drop off points were made available at community hubs across the town and then last month the items were sorted at Myplace in Middlehaven before a delegation set off for Poland by a Ukrainian national who has links to Mr Mokhnenko, who is also a pastor.

In a message sent back to the people of Middlesbrough at the time, Pastor Mokhnenko said: “My dear friends. On behalf of our church and the whole of Ukraine, we sincerely thank you for your sacrifice.

God bless you all and your wonderful families and your wonderful country.

We will pray increasingly for you. Sincerely grateful for your help. God’s blessings to you, thank you!”

He has now followed up his words with a formal letter from his charity’s base in Mariupol.

In it he writes: “In this difficult time Ukrainian people are dying from starvation, bullets, shells, bombs just on the streets or under the rubble of destroyed buildings due to the war with Russia.

At the same time, we are trying to help those people who have lost everything. 

“We are helping those who are still trapped in the crossfire, we are helping the Ukrainian military and those who are currently forced to stay in the occupied territories which are not under the control of the Ukrainian military and authorities.

“We are transferring and delivering humanitarian aid to people who has been evacuated from the conflict zones, who have managed to escape from death.

We provide the assistance to all Ukrainians who have seen this terrible war and who do not have the means to survive or access basic necessities. 

“Thank you very much for your cooperation and charitable help in our joint mission.

With your help we can do more for Ukrainian people who faced the war.

May the Lord bless you all and your open hearts.”

Donations can still be dropped off at the following locations and times:
•    North Ormesby Hub, Derwent Street, TS3 6JB. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9.30am to 12pm and 1pm to 5pm and Saturday 9.30am to 12.30pm.
•    Newport Community Hub, Union Street, TS1 4EE. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 9.30am to 12pm and 1pm to 4.30pm.
•    Thorntree Community Hub, Birkhall Road, TS3 9JW. Monday, Tuesday, Friday 9.30am to 12pm and 1pm to 5pm.
•    Easterside Community Hub, Broughton Avenue, TS4 3PZ. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9.30am to 12pm and 1pm to 5pm.
•    Grove Hill Community Hub, Bishopton Road, TS4 2RP. Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9.30am to 12pm and 1pm to 5pm.
•    MyPlace, TS2 1JP. Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9.30am to 12pm and 1pm to 4.30pm.

Members of the public who wish to help have been asked by the group to provide good quality:

•    Sleeping bags, blankets, and camping mats
•    First aid equipment – bandages, vinyl, medical gloves, antiseptic wipes
•    Torches, candles, batteries
•    Dried food, rice, pasta, high protein meat, tinned fish
•    Adhesive plasters, Vaseline, and permanent markers
 
The group is not able to accept:

•    Clothes
•    Bedding, towels, or pillows
•    Prescription or over the counter medication, alcohol hand wash
•    Lighters, matches, or flammable liquids
•    Large tinned or fresh food, or other perishables
•    Scissors, razors, or biro pens

Those who can are asked to box their items and use a permanent marker to cross out the barcode, thereby easing the load on volunteers.

This is so that items are not sold on by anyone.

Those who wish to make a financial donation can do so through the British Red Cross, or Unicef.

The group may also look for volunteers to help sort and pack donations.

For any questions or offers of help, please contact Jolande_mace@middlesbrough.gov.uk, who will connect you to the relevant people.