Surbiton women open Ukraine donations collection point at local church

By Ellie Brown - Local Democracy Reporter

4th Mar 2022 | Local News

A CHURCH in Surbiton has become a hub for donations of urgently needed supplies after local women ran out of space in their homes to collect them.

Two ante-rooms in St Mark's Church on Surbiton Hill are now being used to store vital items such as medicine, baby food, nappies and personal hygiene products, as part of a London-wide effort to provide relief to the people of Ukraine.

The Surbiton collection point is being run by Maria, who moved here from Ukraine just four years ago and has parents, relatives, close friends and a godson still in the country.

Ukraine has been under attack by Russia for over a week and some cities are now being shelled intensely, causing the deaths of civilians.

The invasion last Thursday (24 February) prompted an international outcry and a raft of sanctions imposed on Russia. Thousands of refugees have now fled Ukraine

Maria says the shock of the invasion last week lasted a few days, and while her loved ones are safe some of them live in dangerous areas such as Kyiv.

But, she says, she has since adapted to it and decided to do whatever she could to help them from here.

"Doing this is easier as I'm not always at home checking in on my family," she says. "I call my mum two times a day now, not 10."

At first she and other girls in the area took in donations to their homes but yesterday (3 March) they moved to St Mark's church.

Maria is kept extremely busy by the work, juggling phone calls and collections, and she says this is her full-time job along with looking after the kids at home.

Two other Ukranian women help her and the trio sort, pack and label donations, ready to be transported in ambulances across Europe to the border as part of a London-wide effort.

In Surbiton, Maria estimates that about 100 people have brought supplies so far with some coming twice or three times per day.

Members of the Church also stay to help for two or three hours after services, she adds.

The supplies that are most needed are medicine, baby food, nappies and hygiene products including sanitary towels and toothpaste, she says. Food and blankets are less needed and clothes not at all.

Maria is clearly touched by the support of the community, adding: "thank you to all the people who have made donations so far."

St Mark's Church which is located near the top of Surbiton Hill and donations can be brought in between 9am and 6pm.

Visitors to can also show solidarity to Ukraine by tying a ribbon to a tree outside the church entrance, or say a prayer for peace inside.

Other collection points in London are in Twickenham, Hounslow and Wimbledon, though for people in Kingston, St Mark's church will likely be the nearest point.

Are you running a collection point in Kingston for supplies to Ukraine? We can help spread the word. Email [email protected]


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