On January 4, 2017, volunteers, led by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Ukraine Appeal and GlobalFire, gathered at the Caravan Group of Companies’ warehouse in Oakville, ON, to pack firefighting equipment and medical supplies bound for Mariupol, a port city in Eastern Ukraine.
The firefighting equipment was donated by fire departments from around Ontario through GlobalFire, an operational arm of the David McAntony Gibson Foundation. The equipment included air cylinders, firefighting suits, hoses, and other essential items to help Ukrainian firefighters protect the civilians living in conflict zones. This gear will help fill in the gaps for emergency responders in Ukraine – one of the directors with GlobalFire, Craig Lester, told the CBC. “This is the type of aid that can make a large difference with respect to the safety of the emergency workers, as well as the community that they serve,” Lester said.
The medical supplies were collected, sorted and packed by volunteers from different organizations: Ukrainian Canadian Congress Toronto, Children of Chornobyl Fund and League of Ukrainian Canadians. League of Ukrainian Canadians, Etobicoke Chapter donated $3,500 to fund the shipping of the goods, while Caravan Group provided its warehouse to store and sort the supplies and equipment, and logistical support to collect donated supplies in the Toronto area.
The 11,000 kg, 40 ft container with firefighting equipment and medical supplies is currently on its way to the port in Montreal, where it will be loaded on the vessel later this week and will arrive in Mariupol in mid-February. Upon arrival to Mariupol, the goods will be distributed to fire departments and hospitals in this city, located just kilometers from the zone where Ukrainian troops are fighting with the Russian occupation forces and their proxies. On January 24, 2015 the city suffered indiscriminate shelling of residential areas by Russian and proxy forces. At least thirty civilians were killed and at least ninety injured, including women, children and the elderly.
In a show of support the event was attended by Ukraine’s Consul General Andrii Veselovskyi, as well as Pam Damoff, MP – Oakville North-Burlington, James Maloney, MP – Etobicoke Lakeshore and Hon. Kevin Flynn, MPP – Oakville.