An old friend from the sector, former Russian exporter Alexander Visser and Dirk Klerk (of Klerk Planten, Veen) are organising an initial food transport to Ukraine this weekend. "Standing by is not an option for us. We want to do something quickly. Tomorrow and Saturday we are going to make 20,000 backpacks for mothers and children who fled from Ukraine to help them through the first days," Alexander says.
"We are going to distribute two types of backpacks, one for children and one for mothers with food and necessities to encourage them and also with prayer if they wish. For the rest we are going to make boxes to get across the border to Ukraine to provide people there with some kind of food packages."
The idea of doing something together with an appeal for help in the network and on social media is one that finds a lot of resonance. "The enthusiasm to stand up for Ukraine is really great. First we wanted to go with one car, but now we are going with a convoy of 7 or 8 trucks or more to Ukraine! Some of those trucks are Ukrainian trucks that cannot go home, so we also help these men who would otherwise be displaced on a car park without food or drink."
Alexander changed course a few years ago and left the fresh produce trade behind. After leaving, he took up a part-time study of theology. "During the years of crisis, I gave up the steering wheel of my life and personally met Jesus. My life has changed and I can take it a little easier and now have the time and space to live it out. Big problems require decisive action. One gives, the other does; it is a wonderful feeling to be supported in this way."
Within the short time available Alexander and Dirk tackle the situation as efficient and professional as possible within the means. The action can use financial support and good ideas and contacts. "We have decided to order everything at purchase prices, otherwise it is logistically and organisationally impossible to arrange. We are also urgently looking for suppliers who can supply the contents for filling 6,000 boxes very quickly: pasta, rice, pasta sauce (tinned), soup (tinned or bagged), noodles and packets of mashed potatoes." Fresh goods are not needed at the moment, except for hand fruit that can be distributed directly to displaced people.
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