Record Number of Ukrainian Families Seek Food and Christmas Gifts

In Stara Bela near Ostrava, the Sunday morning was abuzz with activity as Ukrainian families from various parts of the Moravian-Silesian region gathered to collect food aid and Christmas gifts for their children. A record number of 1160 individuals from 413 families came to the local community center for help.

Volunteers from Stara Bela parish had gathered four tons of food, toiletries, clothing, and Christmas gifts from various towns in the Moravian-Silesian region. Fifteen parishes from cities, including Ostrava, Fulnek, and Brusperk, contributed to the monthly collection for Ukrainian families, as did the Diaconia Trinec and volunteers from various corners of the Czech Republic.

Vojtech Vlcek, the coordinator of the Stara Bela collection for Ukrainian families, highlighted that they had received continued support from the inception of this volunteer activity in March 2022. For instance, Sylva Rybnickova, a doctor from Brno, organizes collections for them in South Moravia.

According to Vlcek, the collection has grown significantly since its beginnings. “When we started at my house in the courtyard, we helped about twenty families. Last fall, it was already one hundred and fifty people, and now it is escalating because in November we had eight hundred and fifty people and today already one thousand one hundred and sixty,” he said.

Amid these challenging times, some individuals stand out for their repeated contributions. For instance, Frenchman Roger Tout, who lives in Ostrava, delivers 1,500 eggs monthly. Another doctor, Zbynek Vlcek, donates ten food boxes while farmers supply them with potatoes and red beetroot.

As the need for help among Ukrainian families in the Czech Republic has increased dramatically since September, Vojtech Vlcek emphasized that they are always looking for new ways to gather food supplies and ensure that all aid is given out legitimately. Despite the hardships, the spirit of giving and unity remains strong amongst the volunteers and the community.