Listen: Durham shop owner to deliver aid to Ukraine orphanages
Jo Soulsby, owner of Moon Jewelry in Durham, is to travel to Ukraine as part of a convoy delivering aid, including food and medical items, to children living in the countries orphanages.
Since the crisis in Ukraine Jo has organised fundraisers – raffles, selling stock from her shop, organising on line auctions via Moon Jewelry's facebook page, etc. People have donated jewellery to be auctioned. Local businesses have supported this fundraising by providing goods to raffle etc. All proceeds have, and are, going to buy food and essential supplies for those needing it in Ukraine. People have pulled together to help. In April, an extremely kind gentleman donated a portion of his first retirement pension payment.
Listen to Jo chat to Sam on Durham Today:
Goods are purchased in Poland and funds being raised ensure a full range of essential supplies to help as many Ukrainian people as possible are provided. By purchasing supplies in Poland Jo found that she was able to purchase wholesale – same products but so much cheaper - with zero haulage costs. It was found that the cost of one lorry transporting goods from UK could feed six families for one month which made Jo look for other ways of providing supplies. All money donated goes to providing essential supplies. By buying in Poland and transporting goods into Ukraine, this means that it is also possible to provide fresh produce, meat, fish, eggs etc. - protein which is in great need.
Volunteers sponsor their own transport to haul goods into Ukraine. The volunteers, who have been transporting these vital goods bought by these donations into Ukraine, have reported back to Jo on what they encountered. They have witnessed the devastation brought on by this conflict in Ukraine. They have talked to the people trying to live in this devastation. It was after hearing stories these volunteers related that Jo decided to join a convoy and go into Ukraine herself to deliver much needed supplies. At the end of July 2022 Jo will be leading a convoy containing food and medical items to Ukraine for those in need. She will also visit orphans from Bucha and Mariupol with this convoy, hoping to visit 160 orphans in different locations in Ukraine. Once enough funds have been raised essential supplies will be purchased, the vans will be loaded up and Jo will be part of the convoy taking the goods on to Ukraine from Poland. This is a daunting task, but she is passionate about doing all she can to help people affected so badly by this war and as a mother she is particularly concerned about the children.
Jo will be self-funding her own travel costs from the UK and any living costs while she is in Poland and Ukraine. All of the money raised from your kind donations will go directly to the purchase of those supplies so urgently needed right now. She will be reporting back on her journey when she returns.
A statement on Jo's fund raising page reads;
"These items will be purchased in Poland and we are raising funds to ensure we can provide a full range of essential supplies to help as many Ukrainian people as possible. In particular I am focusing on orphans from Bucha and Mariupol.
Once we have raised enough funds and purchased these essential supplies, the vans will be loaded up and I will be part of the convoy taking the goods on to Ukraine from Poland. A daunting task, but I am passionate about doing all I can to help people affected so badly by this war and as a mother myself I’m particularly concerned about the children.
I will be self-funding my own travel costs from the UK and any living costs while I’m in Poland and Ukraine. All of the money raised from your kind donations will go directly to the purchase of those supplies so urgently needed right now.
With our wonderful community, we have already fed and clothed many orphans and families. As a mum myself I cannot imagine thinking that, if something like this happened to us, there would be no one to help my child. That is why I have got involved with such passion.
With your help we can feed those people in need. How much we can raise will determine how many vans we will be able to load for this journey.
We are not asking for big sums: £1 can pay for one meal. Every penny counts."
Jo has owned Moon Jewelry in Durham from a number of years, and is originally from Poland. She now lives in Shotley Bridge, where her neighbours have organised a "waving off event" to raise money as she leaves the village on her journey to Ukraine. She is also under the process of setting up a new charity, "Under The Same Moon"
To donate, please visit the Go Fund Me page by clicking here