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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Warsaw. Aid for refugees from Ukraine. The donors are decreasing, the needs remain. Help points in Śródmieście

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About 20 percent of Ukrainian refugees in the capital can survive only thanks to institutionalized aid, according to volunteers’ estimates. People in need of food, clothing and support in finding a job or a place to live continue to appear at the help points in Śródmieście. Unfortunately, the donors are decreasing.

There are still two help points for Ukrainians in the center of the capital. One of them is run by the city, the other by the Masovian Voivode. Both are adjacent to each other around the de Gaulle roundabout. Queues of those in need form regularly.

– We provide services to 300 people every day. We still need food, chemicals, especially washing gels, washing powders, toys for children, and clothes – says Iryna from the center of the Center for Culture in the City Center run by the city and the Uniters foundation.

Clothes hang on hangers that take up a large part of the hall. However, suits and heeled shoes are not very popular. Especially that there are no people in the line for gifts who could walk to the office wearing these clothes.

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Although the estimates of volunteers show that at least 30 percent of people who came to Poland from Ukraine with the outbreak of the war have already found a job. Many live on savings, use the help of the family they already had in Poland, or the Poles who took them into their home. However, some 20 percent, or tens of thousands of people, who can only count on institutionalized help, remain.

Gifts collected in spring at a point at the Śródmieście Cultural CenterAleksander Ferens – Mayor of the Śródmieście District / Facebook

They eat what they get at aid stations

Alina with three kids still hardly speaks Polish. He rents a room in an apartment on the right side of the Vistula River, where two more mothers and a group of children nest. The money is barely enough for a flat. They eat what they get at aid points and food divisions.

“It’s hard, I would like to go home,” he says, but a house in a town east of Kiev is not yet safe for children. So I’m trying not to complain.

In a whisper and in Ukrainian, he consults the woman who is distributing the food. If there is rice and something with the rice, some canning, there will be dinner. For another day. She also has gifts of summer clothes for children, but she would also need some airy blouses, a light dress, and textile shoes.

– Donors are welcome. You can drive up at any time, we will help you bring things – says Iryna. He reluctantly admits that the donors are dwindling. – And the gifts will be very useful, they are needed very much – he emphasizes.

But when asked whether the dedication of Poles is declining, she is diplomatically evasive. – If anyone can, let him help – he appeals.

Gifts collected in spring at a point at the Śródmieście Cultural CenterAleksander Ferens – Mayor of the Śródmieście District / Facebook

Refugees still need help

200 meters further, in the premises of the former Empik at the de Gaulle roundabout, the queue is only slightly smaller. There are many volunteers on site, but no one speaks Polish. Only the boss, but she’s busy.

On a daily basis, gifts are distributed at the point – food and industrial products. The voivodeship office also organizes professional activation days, and that’s when the crowd is the largest. In one place, not only representatives of employers, but also of the voivodeship office, who help in legalizing the stay of war refugees in Poland, and employees and volunteers of non-governmental organizations providing aid to Ukrainians, are waiting for refugees.

On an ordinary day, two young girls wait in front of the building to use the Internet.

– There are those who came after the war and are already doing better than well. They rent apartments, they even buy cars, says Natalia. She explains that it is best to find a job, for example at school, and to earn extra money after hours cleaning. “Oh, that’s money,” she added.

– But there are more who are barely, barely alive. They sleep somewhere on the floor or at the refugee depots. They eat from gifts, they have everything from gifts – adds Lila. And he says that Ukrainians are and will be grateful to Poles and that they are “stupid that they still need this help, but do need it”.

Main photo source: Aleksander Ferens – Mayor of the Śródmieście District / Facebook

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