Northampton volunteers 'literally ran out of space' for 'beautiful' donations for pets escaping war in Ukraine

Donations were so high that the group of friends had to rent out extra storage just to fit it all in

By Max Pearson
Thursday, 10th March 2022, 8:51 am
Updated Thursday, 10th March 2022, 8:57 am

A group of friends in Northampton have been "blown away" by people's generosity after their call for donations of pet supplies led to a "beautiful" outpouring of support.

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine two weeks ago, over two million people have been forced to flee their homes, with the latest Russian attack reportedly levelling a maternity hospital in Mariupol, according to the country's President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

While there has been no shortage of support for the two-legged Ukrainians making their getaway, the Northampton group of friends noticed some smaller Ukrainians whose needs were getting overlooked.

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The friends' initiative has joined a wide range of charity being offered by the people of Northampton.

Going by the name 'Pawsome - Help for animals in need', the effort hopes to send over pet supplies like food, bedding and toys for those furry friends whose owners have risked all to get them away from harm. It is run by four friends from Northampton, including Marzena Grochal, 37, Kasia Bujak, 33, and Laura Szyler, 25.

Pets and Friends pet shop in Weston Favell has also donated dozen of items.

Julia Pieta, 30, is the final member of the group. She said that through connections to Poland, the group is able to organise the delivery of donations either into Ukraine itself, or to those at the border who might need help.

She said: "It got to the point where we should help now because not only people are suffering, but animals as well. It's a small kind of help for animal owners right now, because if you're facing a war you don't want to worry about finding pet food or bedding.

"We just want to give a bit of help to those people and to show them that there are people still thinking about them because, even though they have to leave everything behind, many have brought their pets along. Some have even risked their lives to get their pets out. So we want to make things a little bit easier for them.

"We'd never have expected that this collection was going to be this big. We've literally run out of space and have had to use extra storage to keep the stuff. We're really surprised by how much people are willing to support it.

"It's not just Poland, but lots of places all around the UK and elsewhere and that's what makes it so beautiful because we can provide them with these essentials."

The group is reportedly in contact with one shelter in Ukraine near Kyiv and have described the situation as "terrible".

In order to gather all of the donations that have flooded in, Julia and her friends have also teamed up with volunteers who are couriering the supplies to be delivered overseas by private couriers.

Sandra Nagy, who has been helping the group's efforts from Collingtree, Northampton, said that she "could not believe" the outpouring of support that she witnessed while she passed the items on in their first step towards Ukraine.

She said: "I just couldn't believe when people started contacting me and saying that they wanted to bring things to my house, as I said I would offer my place to collect things together to make it easier.

"Everybody has been so lovely and generous. We've been busy prepping things to send off and people have just been amazing.

"Everybody needs help, whether they are people or pets. Even if you can just provide a tin of food, it could go a long way for those people who are facing such a tough time right now."

Anyone who is interested in helping out or donating can find the group on Facebook.