Community champion Sarah secures Asda Foundation grant to help Ukrainian refugees
Our Killingbeck store's community champion Sarah John was so moved by the plight of the refugees fleeing war-torn Ukraine that she wanted to do something to help.
So, working with Asda's charity, the Asda Foundation, she secured a £1,000 grant for Leeds Ukrainian Community Centre which will go towards providing food, starter packs of clothes and school equipment and IT support for refugees arriving in the UK.
Sarah said: "It's heartbreaking what is going on over there and I wanted to help. The team at the Ukrainian Association are amazing. They're all volunteers and have never experienced anything like this before. It's all new to them."
She visited the centre to see first hand the scale of the relief effort and to present the £1,000 cheque from Asda's charity, the Asda Foundation, to chairwoman Olga Callaghan and the team.
Sarah said: "It's heartwarming and touching how the community has come together to give their support. When I was there the centre was getting random calls from people asking where they could drop off supplies and donations which will be sent by lorry to help refugees fleeing their country."
Olga, whose parents left Ukraine for the UK in 1947, said she couldn't thank Sarah and the Asda Foundation team enough.
She said: "The grant is wonderful. Every penny and every donation counts. It's amazing how people have got together to help. The kindness and generosity of people never ceases to amaze. We've always been a community here; the centre has been here since the early 1950s.
"We want to help all Ukrainians who are coming into Leeds. We need to be a place where they can come and we can provide somewhere where they can speak in Ukrainian.
"We don't want them to be isolated. We want the children to be able to mix with other Ukrainian children and maybe have a Saturday school so that they can continue to learn Ukrainian. It would be so easy for the children in particular to forget Ukrainian.
"We just want to help them when they come over here. You wouldn't want to lose your home and your job and lose everything you've ever worked for and just come here with a rucksack.
"People keep saying what are your plans for the future and we don't really know. We've never done anything like this before. We are learning every day."