A TRAVEL consultant from Dorchester spearheaded a fundraiser at a church in Charminster.
Jack Lawford, 28, who works at Dorchester Travel, led the charge at St Mary’s Church in a bid to raise as many donations for refugees fleeing violence in Ukraine – following the invasion by Russian forces.
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Mr Lawford said he was working with an organization in Bournemouth, which will collect the donations before traveling to Poland, where many Ukrainian refugees have headed since the invasion began on Thursday February 24.
He said: “Like everyone else, I was devastated to see what was happening in Ukraine.
“I looked for ways to help and came up with the idea to start a collection of essential items, for Ukrainian refugees entering Poland, and to use the church as a drop off point.
“I pitched the idea to Reverend Mark Phillips and Reverend Leila Mather at St Mary’s Church, Charminster, and was given the green light.
Since then, we have received an incredible response from the community, who have donated items such as blankets, sanitary products, diapers, formula and more.
“I spent many late nights with my family – sorting out items and packing them ready for Poland.”
Mr Lawford contacted ‘Help from Bournemouth to Ukraine’, which is run by the Polish community of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, to organize vans to pick up the donations.
However, the Good Samaritan urged the public to only donate specific products, after Mr Crawford was forced to take some of the items to charity shops as they were not deemed acceptable.
“He added: ‘I was given a contact in the Dorchester area and our first load was picked up on Thursday 17th March.
“I lead the collection until April 17, which falls on Easter Sunday.
“Unfortunately we have received many items not listed and not currently accepted including quilts, pillows, cushions and clothing, which I had to dispose of at local charity shops.
“I would advise anyone with large donations to check the ‘Help from Bournemouth to Ukraine’ Facebook page for more information, as we have limited space at St Mary’s Church.”