With the development of recent world events, it seems unconscionable to continue to write about surfing.
In peacetime, there are several places that can be surfed in Ukraine: the Crimean Peninsula, the Sea of Azov and just off the coast of Odesa. As we paddle out to our favourite local breaks in North Devon this week, letâ€™s spare a thought to our surfing brothers and sisters in Ukraine who wonâ€™t be able to form a line-up at their home breaks.Â
If you want to help, there are plenty of opportunities available both locally and further afield.
Physical and monetary donations can help people on the ground who need it most.
Donations might not end the war, but could help to save lives.
According to take-profit.org, the average person in Ukraine earns less than Â£500 per month.
So a little donation could make a meaningful difference. There are plenty of local Devonshire businesses that are currently accepting donations.Â
Jenny Coleman, who runs Furry Paws Dog Rescue, a dog rescue organisation in Okehampton, pivoted her business to help provide aid to Ukrainian refugees and is in need of a new storage centre for donations.Â
â€œI run two businesses and a dog rescue which has a logistical network into Eastern Europe to help rescue street dogs,â€ explains Jenny.
â€œWhen we learned about the war in Ukraine, we all put our heads together and organised our network to provide aid to the countries which are hosting Ukrainian refugees.â€
Jenny is organising both humanitarian and animal aid to Romania, Moldova and Czech Republic.
â€œWeâ€™ve made sure to provide aid for both humans and animals because someone who has picked up their pets amidÂ war and carried them for miles on end has proven that their pet is just as important as a family member.Â
â€œWe were originally using our transportation vehicles to assist Ukrainians into neighbouring countries, but now weâ€™re working to deliver much-needed aid to refugee shelters.
"Weâ€™re also helping to shelter pets that have been refused passage with their owners in the hopes that we can help to reunite pets with their owners when they manage to find a safe place to stay.
â€œIâ€™m working for over 12 hours per day, but I canâ€™t complain,â€ says Jenny. â€œItâ€™s nothing compared to what these people are going through.â€
Recently, a member of Jennyâ€™s dog rescue network, Anastasiia Yalanskaia risked her life to help a Ukrainian animal shelter that didnâ€™t have food for three days but was sadly killed from shelling.Â
They are currently storing most of their donations at St. Boniface Church in Okehampton, but as of March 17, they will need a new place to store donations.
If you have a space available for storage, please send a direct message to the Furry Paws Dog Rescue Facebook page.
The silver lining to this humanitarian crisis has been seeing local communities coming together to help however they can.
â€œIâ€™m grateful for everyone who has helped me with donations, logistics and storage so far,â€ says Jenny.
â€œWeâ€™ve had collections in Sidmouth, Dawlish, Honiton, Launceston, Chagford, Barnstaple, Exeter and Okehampton. Local mums have used their home addresses as donation locations to help, and weâ€™ve even had a van donated by BVS Okehampton.â€
If youâ€™d like to donate, Jenny has specific requirements: â€œI donâ€™t need any more clothes, but Iâ€™m in need of baby products, first aid donations and any non-perishable food.â€
More information on Furry Paws Dog Rescue and up to date donation information can be found on their Facebook page.
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