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Holbeach area volunteers are now working with the United Nations to send aid to help Ukrainian refugees

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Stacks of boxes containing food, medical supplies and bedding are filling a warehouse thanks to the generosity of the people of South Holland and one woman’s determination to make a difference for Ukrainian refugees.

Mandy Baxter and the Boxes of Hope volunteers are now working with the United Nations (UN) to offer support to the families who have been forced to flee their homes in the wake of the devastating Russian invasion.

In the weeks since Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine and began firing rockets and bombs on innocent civilians, South Holland individuals, schools and businesses have responded to Mandy’s appeals for help by bringing in boxes and boxes of supplies.

Mandy Baxter and the Boxes of Hope team in Holbeach (55772457)
Mandy Baxter and the Boxes of Hope team in Holbeach (55772457)

Not only are the team an official United Nations distribution centre for Ukrainian aid, but now aid workers in Poland have direct access to a live inventory of what is being collected at the team’s base at the Anglia Motel in Fleet.

Mandy, who has now registered Boxes of Hope as a community interest company, has been overwhelmed by the generosity of local people in the weeks since she started her appeal after being moved by the stories coming out of Ukraine.

Standing amongst the stacks of boxes filled with aid, Mandy said: “I feel very proud to be from South Holland and from Holbeach St Marks.

Mandy Baxter and the Boxes of Hope team in Holbeach (55772451)
Mandy Baxter and the Boxes of Hope team in Holbeach (55772451)

“The letters written by the children are heartbreaking and make me feel really humbled.

“This has grown to be massive and it makes me feel so very proud as this would not be happening without the community. This is down to the community giving their donations - and they keep coming in.”

Businesses such as Superflora in Holbeach, Worldwide Fruit, Flamingo Flowers and Ashwood Homes have given donations of boxes, equipment and money since the appeal was launched.

Mandy Baxter and the Boxes of Hope team in Holbeach (55772460)
Mandy Baxter and the Boxes of Hope team in Holbeach (55772460)

The appeal is becoming so well-known that people in Ukraine are contacting Mandy directly asking for help.

Mandy, who has passed her contact details onto the UN, said: “I am getting messages from people in the Ukraine asking for help.

“There is a woman hiding with her family and they are trying to get them out. Their town is 10km from Chernobyl and their electricity is gone. The town is in a bad way and they are frightened.”

On Sunday at 3pm, a lorry will be leaving the depot in Holbeach filled with vital supplies, including military clothing, first aid and food.

Items that the team are appealing for include mobility aids such as wheelchairs, along with ‘pull ups’ for injured children and teenagers as well as items which can be used to create field kitchens. These include cutlery, plates, camping stoves and barbecues.

But one parcel will not be travelling as far to reach Ukrainian refugees, as the team have created a care package for a woman and her family who will be moving into the Whaplode area.

The team has also received requests for hydraulic cutting equipment and fire equipment.

Volunteer Sue Bannister has used items which could not be sent over to help create dog beds for military and rescue dogs.

Mandy has also thanked the team at Andrews in Spalding for their help along with councillors Paul Redgate, Nick Worth and Graham Rudkin.

l The Cley Hall Hotel in Spalding will be holding a fundraising European Coffee Morning on April 9.

The event will run from 10.30am on Saturday, April 9 with tea, coffee and cake on offer. Several businesses have donated raffle prizes, including vouchers from Afterglow Tanning and The Red Lion Hotel.

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