Written by Tzu Chi Poland Volunteers
Edited by Adriana DiBenedetto
Last week, Tzu Chi volunteers in Poland provided essential supplies for 300 people in the city of Poznań. The carefully arranged backpacks contained pantry staples and other daily necessities for Ukrainian refugees to pick up with ease. Local students had additionally called upon their classmates to assist in the distribution, and company directors drove their trucks to help Tzu Chi deliver the supplies locally.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 4.2 million people have fled Ukraine as of April 3, 2022. For those seeking safety, it was impossible to bring more than one could carry, and funds and supplies were running out. “They are forced to leave their families and hometowns and come to a living environment they are not familiar with. And, when they get to a safe place, they would start to worry about whether they and their children will have their next meal,” expressed Kyle, a student in Poznań.
A businessman named Ukas Hansik drove his company’s van to help with the inventory and delivery. “If you have people around you who share Tzu Chi’s goodwill and are willing to join, it makes things a lot easier. Like we have help from friends of the Tarnowo Podgórne Biega Running Association, or those of the local Tarnowskie Termy Triathlon Team,” said Ukas. “This has been the third time we have joined Tzu Chi as volunteers.”
In addition to the ten triathlon club members, Ukas Hansik’s wife and son also provided their support at the distribution site. Fourteen students additionally came with their friends and helped organize pantry staples and other supplies, including apples, onions, potatoes, barley, wheat flour, noodles, milk, sauces, and toilet paper.
“They really need household items,” explained Agnieszka, an elementary school teacher in Poznań. “I can say that I met them, probably once or twice, and their needs are what we generally have in our daily lives, but they don’t.”
“When we were distributing the supplies, we found that many Ukrainians needed to walk several kilometers to the distribution site for the supplies, and we saw a lot of them with young children,” Kyle said.