Councillor Martin Leatherdale
"It’s humbling to support a community project of emergency humanitarian aid directly from our home town – I am proud. We aim to procure, produce, and deliver urgent aid to those In Ukraine and neighbouring countries as a matter of absolute urgency. This is a 100 per cent Colchester based community project supported by the World Food Aid charity and we will deliver every penny for penny, door to door."
Colchester Mayor Robert Davidson
"We should be proud to be part of such a caring community. Everyone I have met since the Ukrainian invasion is appalled by Russia’s indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population. Our community is keen to help and together we can help provide support and essential goods for the refugees and those remaining in Ukraine. Please help those struggling Ukrainians by donating to this worthwhile cause today."
CEO (SURYA FOODS) Suki Dulai
"An important element of our family’s ethos is to assist those less fortunate than ourselves, and to this end we are proud and honoured to use our resources to support this humanitarian initiative. We are excited to see where we can take this project with the people of Colchester and really believe we can set a fantastic example of what can be achieved by one town when everyone is playing to their strengths."
World Food Aid is honoured to be working with the people of Colchester to help coordinate a major appeal to deliver much need humanitarian aid directly from the community of Colchester to refugees in urgent need in Ukraine and neighbouring countries.
The 100% not for-profit, local initiative is being managed by World Food Aid and Lion Walk Shopping Centre and is being spearheaded by Colchester Councillor Martin Leatherdale, Colchester Mayor Robert Davidson, and the Dulai family, owners of Surya Foods and Colchester’s George Hotel.
It sees a host of Colchester organisations join forces, with significant backing from the wider local community, notably Community 360, Colchester Food Bank, Anti Loo Roll Brigade, Colchester Community Facebook Group and many others. The scheme is also being bolstered by the Colchester Rotary Club, Colchester Council and Colchester Business Improvement District – Our Colchester.
The Colchester to Ukraine: Humanitarian & Emergency Aid Campaign was officially launched at the Mayor of Colchester’s Best of British event held at Colchester Town Hall last month. The first goal of the campaign is to send one articulated lorry load of essential aid to those in need, with a view to scheduling regular deliveries, depending on community support.
Surya Foods is contributing transport and production of food to the scheme while Lion Walk has opened a drop-off site to the public.
Speaking about the campaign Suki Dulai, CEO of Surya Foods said: “It is impossible to watch the horrors unfolding in Ukraine and not want to do something to help. Many of us have experienced a sense of helplessness, witnessing the despair and suffering and watching families lose loved ones and their homes. And while, in those early days, there were appeals for donations of items like nappies, bedding, tents, medicines etc. and the UK public responded warm heartedly, it has quickly become clear that a refugee crisis of this magnitude requires a very sophisticated, coordinated response and highly efficient use of resources.
Sorting through mountains of clothing and donated goods is time consuming and transporting such items is costly. The chaos at the other end, not to mention customs challenges, also means mountains of aid is simply not getting to those who need it.
That is why, we, as a group of key businesses and organisations in Colchester, have come to the conclusion that the best way for Colchester to help the people of Ukraine is for us to come up with a coordinated effort which lets us all focus on playing to our strengths – by fundraising and donating real practical skills and resources to ensure every pound the people of Colchester donates directly benefits Ukrainian refugees – no dilution. Surya Foods already has established transport routes through Europe, we understand the customs system and we can procure and produce food at very low prices – much lower than if you buy an item from a supermarket and donate it. That means every pound goes further. We also have the capacity to dispatch articulated lorries, so we can transport significant amounts of food in one drop. This is what we do best and this is what we are donating to this amazing community effort.
There are literally millions of mouths to feed, now, so there really is no time to waste in reaching our first target which is essentially to raise £25k – enough to send 100k meals direct to Ukrainian refugees.
World Food Aid is appealing for monetary donations which will be used to procure and produce foods specifically demanded by aid agencies working on the ground. Surya Foods has pledged to produce bulk pallets of necessary food and non-food items at discount/cost/production price with funds raised from the appeal.
World Food Aid is also liaising with major organisations on the ground to ensure what is sent is needed and to help the donating public stay up to date with which items are in demand. When the charity has specific requests for blankets, sleeping bags, medicines etc. it will notify the public via its website and social media platforms. These can then be donated via the Lion Walk drop off centre which will also be a hub for creating much-needed food kits.
The appeal, launched on 23rd April, is currently at just over £16k of its £25k target. We appeal to the Colchester community to come together and help us deliver 100,000 meals to those displaced in the most severely affected regions (notably Eastern Ukraine) the cost price of which is approximately £20000-£25000.
The Lion Walk donation hub is located next to Primark, in Culver Street, and is in operation between 11am and 3pm.
You can also donate any of the following essential new items at the Lion Walk Ukraine Humanitarian and Fulfilment Centre (NB: Please do not donate second hand items):
- First aid kits
- Sleeping bags
- Torches with batteries
- Bed linen