Aid truck prepares to leave Northern Ireland destined for Ukraine

Paul Doherty said their priority is to get the aid to the people of Ukraine as quickly and safely as possible.

09 March 2022

One of several collections of aid donated in Northern Ireland is due to set out across Europe.

Paul Doherty, founder of Foodstock in west Belfast, said their donations were bolstered by a shipment from Co Armagh on Tuesday evening that a number of schools had been involved with collecting.

He described the aid including many priority need items such as baby food, food, nappies and toiletries.

“Our mission now is to get that to people in Ukraine as quickly and safely as possible,” he said.

“We’re going to hit the road, we have a 40-foot container headed towards the Romanian border with Ukraine. We’re going to meet with NGOs on the ground and distribute these items to people who are fleeing Ukraine.

“There is a real movement of people going towards this border region of Romania and that is where we are hearing there is a real need and that’s why we’re prioritising it.

“It’s quite a frightening prospect (going near a warzone) but we’re committed and we want to see this job done.

“We have seen a lot of generosity and a lot of good will from people in Belfast and across Northern Ireland, and now we want to get that aid to people. We have seen the scenes of TV of the distress and what people are going through out there, and we just want to help. It’s people looking out for people.”

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Paul Doherty (left), founder of Woodstock in west Belfast and SDLP MLA Justin McNulty offloading donations (Liam McBurney/PA)

Earlier, an east Belfast restaurant owner told how she has been overwhelmed by the generosity of people after she began collecting items for those caught up in the humanitarian crisis caused by the invasion of Ukraine.

Monica Rawson, originally from Poland, runs the Smokey Deli in east Belfast which has been transformed into a store for items which will be shipped out to help refugees fleeing Ukraine.

Ms Rawson said she first made the appeal for donations after she was left “heartbroken” by the scenes in the war-torn country.

Since then she has collected several tons of clothes, toys and food.

She said: “We have been doing this collection for the Ukrainian refugees.

“The donations have been overwhelming, lots of people supporting, it has been great.

“It is breaking my heart because these are my neighbours and I need to do something to support them in this crisis.”

One day’s donations for the Ukrainian people that has been dropped of to Monika Rawson’s restaurant Smokey Deli in east Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

Ms Rawson said that her grandparents are originally from Ukraine and she has family in Poland who live just 40km away from the border.

She said: “We have been asking for what is needed at the moment. We have asked for clothes, blankets, baby clothes, toys, food, medicine.

“At this moment we need more medicines, baby foods and cosmetics.”

Ms Rawson said the goods would be taken by lorry to Poland to be distributed to refugees.

More from Perspective

Get a free copy of our print edition


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed

Your email address will not be published. The views expressed in the comments below are not those of Perspective. We encourage healthy debate, but racist, misogynistic, homophobic and other types of hateful comments will not be published.