British and American Rotary clubs join forces to support Ukraine

British and American Rotary clubs join forces to support Ukraine

In an example of Rotary’s power to bring people together, three Rotary clubs from around the world organised the distribution of humanitarian goods

Over the course of three months, The Rotary Club of Whitstable, Kent, organised a collaboration between Rotarians from the U.S.A and Ukraine to deliver resources to areas of Ukraine affected by war.

Thanks to an emergency grant and the exceptional dedication of a few Rotarians, Whitstable Rotary successfully helped the Cherry Creek Rotary Club of Denver Colorado and the Ukraine Unity Rotary Club of Lviv distribute over 9500 brand new thermal items across Ukraine.

For nearly a year, Whitstable Rotarian Kim Foster was running a project supporting Ukrainian families living in Whitstable which was how he met Steve Sidelnyk of the Ukraine Unity Rotary Club – one of the leads in coordinating the delivery and distribution of humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

A HGV being loaded in Hereford, the start of the 1,200 mile journey to Lviv, Ukraine.

Another member of the Ukraine Unity Rotary Club had connections in New Jersey which lead to everyone meeting Cindy Chase, President of the Cherry Creek Rotary Club of Denver Colorado.

After a Zoom call, where they heard from other members of the Ukraine Unity Rotary Club, it was decided that they would focus on purchasing and distributing thermal clothing as Ukraine’s harsh winter was about to start and many people in the country had been left without power.

The Cherry Creek Rotary Club applied for a $25,000 emergency grant that it was Whitstable Rotary’s job to then receive, administer the same and then give to Rotarian Antony Preston – a member of Ukraine Unity Rotary Club who lived in Folkestone, Kent.

Antony had already heavily involved in the purchase and delivery of aid to Ukraine, taking 17 trips to the Ukraine border and distributing over £400,000 worth of aid since the war began.

Antony Preston with Borys Bodnar, Steven Sidelnyk (members of Ukraine Unity Rotary Club) in a Lviv warehouse.

It was Antony’s job to find the clothing, find transport and then distribute everything to Ukraine which he successfully achieved, buying all the clothes from UK wholesalers and then arranging for two 4×4’s and an HGV to transport it all to Ukraine.

The Rotary Club of Whitstable is now looking to seek further grant funding to provide aid such as power generators and personal hygiene items.

Andrew Gough of Whitstable Rotary commented: “The Rotary Club of Whitstable may only have been a small cog in the success of this humanitarian enterprise, which has been on-going since March 2022. Nonetheless, we will be honoured to assist in supporting the administration of any further grant.

“We and the Cherry Creek Rotary Club are proud to have been instrumental in supporting Ukraine Unity in the distribution and delivery of this humanitarian aid.

“Rotary in action; doing great good where it is sorely needed.”