Cork to Ukraine diary: Volunteers begin another journey to Polish border

Echo reporter Donal O’Keeffe is travelling to the Ukrainian border with the Cork Penny Dinners humanitarian mission. Read his daily diary reports on
Cork to Ukraine diary: Volunteers begin another journey to Polish border

Group from Penny Dinners heading off for The Ukraine, including Caitriona Twomey, Conal Thomas,Echo reporter Donal O'Keeffe ,Leslie O'Sullivan, David Feeney, Tom Kalinauskas and Kieran Coniry. Picture; Eddie O'Hare

AT 7am yesterday, Cork volunteers were boarding a flight in Dublin, while back at home the day’s work was already well underway in Leeside’s oldest charity.

In Cork Penny Dinners’ kitchen, preparations were already in hand for the 500 meals served that day on Little Hanover St, with Philppe, Tomasz, Patsy, and Ailish hard at work in the clatter and steam.

Six of their fellow volunteers were being ushered toward a flight to Krakow for the Cork charity’s third visit to the Ukrainian border, delivering tonnes of humanitarian aid donated by the people of Cork.

By 10am Irish time, as the group bound for the border was landing in Poland, in Cork Penny Dinners’ door had been open for over an hour and there was still a queue on the pavement outside.

As many as 200 people had already been served with soup, a hot dinner, and survival pack containing sandwiches, fruit, snacks, and water.

Shortly after arriving in Krakow yesterday, the visiting Cork volunteers, led by Penny Dinners co-ordinator Caitríona Twomey, headed for their base in Tarnow, in south-eastern Poland.

There they met two articulated lorries which had left Cork last Thursday carrying 80 tonnes of humanitarian aid donated by the people of Cork, and immediately they set about unloading the lorries.

The volunteers are here until next week, and their next job is to load up rented vans and prepare to deliver aid to refugee centres along the Ukrainian border.

It is hot in Poland at the moment — 33C and rising — and volunteers will be sore and tired by the time the vans are full. The lifting is heavy enough, but the work will help to save lives.

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