April 1, 2022
A warehouse has been stacked with food, blankets, toiletries and other essential supplies for Ukrainian refugees following an extraordinary outpouring of support from people in and around Havant.
The community rallied in response to a plea from the charity Stella’s Voice, which has been helping orphans in Moldova for 25 years and is now also supporting refugees fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
With support from Havant Borough Council, hundreds of items were left at a vacant shop at the Meridian Centre in Havant town centre and a team of 130 volunteers set to work sorting the donations.
When the shop became full, Stella’s Voice issued another plea for help – this time for the use of a warehouse space to enable helpers to spread the donations out, itemise them and put them onto pallets ready to be loaded into an articulated lorry headed for Moldova.
Developer Kingsbridge Estates is supporting Stella’s Voice by providing the charity with a 5,600 sq ft unit at its Spring Business Park development in New Lane, and volunteers are now busy cataloguing the huge haul of donations before they are sent to help those in need.
Wayne Keeping, Operations Director at Stella’s Voice, said: “We have been overwhelmed with support to the point where we simply ran out of space. We are extremely grateful for the huge response from members of the public, and Havant Borough Council and Kingsbridge Estates for giving us the space we need to collect donations and to get them ready for transport.
”Stella’s Voice, set up in 1996 following the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, works with orphan girls who are at risk of being sold into sex trafficking once they become too old to stay in state-run orphanages.
It runs several homes under the name Stella’s House, named in memory of a young woman who lost her life to AIDS after being a victim of sex traffickers. The homes protect the young women from human slavery while helping them complete their education and learn life skills.
Wayne added: “We have been working in Moldova for more than 25 years but when Russia invaded Ukraine, we adapted overnight. We are opening our homes up to Ukrainian refugees who are coming through Moldova – some who are stopping off on their way to Romania, and others who are hopeful that they may be able to return to their home country. This lorry-load of donations will be a lifeline for them.
”Chris Fry, Chief Executive, Kingsbridge Estates, said: “It was great to see the speed and scale of the response from the local community to the appeal by Stella’s Voice. We wanted to help in some way and I’m pleased that we have been able to contribute to this effort to get a huge number of donations sorted, packaged and ready to be sent to the people who so badly need them.
”Stella’s Voice intends to set off for Moldova within the next two weeks and is still encouraging donations of dried and tinned foods, toiletries, new underwear for ladies and children, sanitary products and baby products. at the Meridian Centre. For more information about the charity or to make a financial donation see www.stellasvoice.org.uk