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How many sleeping bags can you fit in a Fiat 500?

Date: 07 April 2022

The answer is 103. That’s just one of the special requests that a donation centre at St John the Evangelist in Merrow has been able to fulfil for Ukraine in the last five weeks.


The Rector, Rona Stuart-Bourne explains, “We have a link with a Ukrainian who has managed to get a local storage space. We have been a part of sending dozens of vans directly into Lviv day after day.”


Because of the direct connections with the war-ravaged country, the donation campaign blog can be very specific about what’s needed immediately in Ukraine.


This week it’s food, including tinned goods, dried food and snacks, water and Easter treats.


A team of volunteers have been packing up the donations and getting them to the storage area for dispatch to Eastern Europe. “It’s not just helping the people in Ukraine,” says Jane Stevenson, one of the organisers. “It’s helping the people who volunteer. There was a terrible sense of helplessness. Now they are doing something they really feel is making a difference.”


Currently the are as many as three deliveries a week going out by road Ukraine. “It’s been absolutely breathtaking,” says Rona. “In the first week we emptied Boots of nappies and baby wipes in both Guildford and Merrow,” she says.


This week the team wanted to include Easter cards in this week’s delivery. As they started to write greetings, unannounced a Ukraine women came in and was able to translate the message into the native language. The traditional greeting is, “Happy Easter. God is love.”


The church in Epsom Road is open for donations. But please be quick. The opportunity to donate will be paused between April 8 until after Easter. If it’s needed, the campaign will restart on April 19. 


“There are many people behind this. St John’s has played it part but it has been a massive community effort,” says Rona.


You can keep updated via the St John's blog.

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