24 February 2022 – this date stuck deeply in the memory of many of us. It is one of those events when experienced shock makes us remember the smallest detail of the day. After all, despite the warnings of experts, none of us would allow the thought that a full-scale war could break out in the heart of modern Europe.
FAKRO logistics centre in Lviv was made available as a warehouse for further distribution of humanitarian aid. We can read about what it was like in the first days of the war in an interview with Edward Kawa who is the Auxiliary Bishop of the Lviv Archdiocese. The Bishop Kawa appreciates the commitment of FAKRO and CEO Ryszard Florek. The interview was published on Onet.pl which is one of the largest Polish web portals and its extract can be found below:
And when there were too many things that we couldn’t fit anywhere, I asked God for a new warehouse. We wanted to rent something, but everywhere was very expensive. Then Ryszard, the owner of FAKRO from Nowy Sącz, showed up and said that he would like donate five trucks with food. After my suggestion that we had no place to store it, he said that he also offers us his warehouses at the entrance to Lviv and has people to handle them and forklifts at our disposal. We have been using these warehouses since March and paying nothing. All FAKRO employees are at our disposal. What is more, we have 10 six-ton trucks on loan. The seminary in Brzuchowice is mainly operated by the Knights of Columbus fraternal organisation, while Caritas charity organisation operates FAKRO warehouses.
Almost concurrently, we started to host in Poland the families of our Ukrainian employees and distributors. The first mother with two children arrived on 1 March, finding safe shelter and a great deal of friendship in the private apartment of our employee. Then new people were coming regularly to our centres in Krynica and Muszyna. They were often brought from the border individually by our employees who declared their willingness to transport them. To date, we have welcomed 205 people – women, children and the elderly. Our staff supported them in dealing with administrative issues, children’s school formalities and responded to any other, sometimes unusual needs of our Ukrainian guests.
Our intention was not only to provide our guests with food and a roof over their heads. We wanted to make them get away from their thoughts about Ukraine for at least a while and we hope that we managed to do this on trips in which we took part with great pleasure. We visited Wieliczka, Inwałd and Niedzica. Our guests also had the opportunity to try their hand at exciting sledge ride in Muszyna. We were delighted to participate in the workshops of making Ukrainian dumplings.
We currently have 13 people under our care. Some returned to Ukraine, while others travelled further into the world. We receive news about people who found a job, a flat and are already organising their reality in Poland on their own.
Since the beginning of the war, we have been involved in many unusual events, the most notable of which is the fact that in May a healthy baby boy was born in Krynica who after some time returned with his mom to his dad in Novohrad-Volynskyi. We also received a request from Novohrad to purchase clothing, boots and tactical goggles for soldiers from the families of our employees.
We have been involved in a large, extraordinary transportation of medical equipment organised in cooperation with our partners from the UK. We received financial support from our foreign partners with the UK and Netherlands deserving particular recognition. Material aid came from Austria. Our employees in Poland also responded in large numbers to the appeal to collect necessary items for Ukrainian women and their families.
Our efforts have been noticed outside the company as we received a distinction in the BohaterON competition. Our new dimension of patriotism was appreciated, combining love for the homeland with a sense of responsibility for countries that need our help.
“Each time we strongly emphasise the contribution of our employees from various departments of FAKRO who have repeatedly devoted their private time to help those in need. We are extremely grateful to the entire FAKRO team for their kindness and commitment. My heart is filled with joy!” concluded by Bogumiła Szczygelska, coordinating aid activities for Ukraine on behalf of FAKRO.
Serhiy Zhadan, a Ukrainian poet, musician and this year’s candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature, repeats: “Tomorrow we will wake up one day closer to our victory.” We wish Ukraine that these days will be as few as possible. We are with you! Glory to Ukraine!