Record Number of Ukrainian Families Gather for Food and Christmas Gifts

In the heart of Ostrava, the cultural house in Stará Bělá buzzed with activity on a recent Sunday morning. Ukrainian families in various parts of the Moravian-Silesian region gathered to collect food aid and Christmas gifts for their children. The event saw a record-breaking turnout of 1,160 individuals from 413 families.

The initiative was spearheaded by volunteers from the parish of Stará Bělá, who managed to amass four tons of food, toiletries, clothing, and Christmas gifts from various regions’ cities. The collection, aimed at supporting Ukrainian families, is a monthly event in which 15 parishes from places like Ostrava, Fulnek, and Brušperk participate. Contributions also came from Diakonie Třinec and volunteers from parts of the Czech Republic.

Coordinator of the Stará Bělá collection for Ukrainian families, Vojtěch Vlček, said, “Some bring food or toiletries, others contribute financially to our account, which we have on the Stará Bělá parish website.” He acknowledged the continuous support from various individuals since the initiative began in March 2022. Among them is Brno doctor Sylva Rybníčková, who organizes collections in southern Moravia, and Roger Tout, a Frenchman living in Ostrava, who contributes 1,500 eggs monthly.

However, Vlček voiced his concerns about the escalating needs of the Ukrainian families. Since the initiative started, the number of families requiring their help has surged from around 20 to 1,160 individuals in November. He attributed this increase to dwindling assistance for Ukrainians in the Czech Republic and the government’s tightening support conditions for foreigners.

Despite the challenges, the spirit of giving thrives in Stará Bělá. Ukrainian families, like that of Olga Kravčenková, who fled from Kharkiv in the spring of 2022, are grateful for the assistance. She expressed her hope for the war to end soon so that her family can be reunited, reflecting the shared wish of many Ukrainian families this Christmas.