Ukraine Aid: Toronto couple behind major aid effort

A couple in Toronto have turned their advertising studio into a hub for hundreds of thousands of donations, all for Ukraine and Ukrainians who have fled their country.

Blaine Pearson, who co-organized the donation, told CTV National News: “We have a lot of things coming up. “And lots of volunteers joined in to help sort and repack the items.”

Pearson and her husband Jason van Bruggen run the Dot Dot Dash advertising agency in Toronto. They are leading an effort to fill a cargo plane with supplies, some of which are designed for refugees who have fled to Poland, while others are bound for the front lines. in Ukraine.

On February 25, less than 48 hours after the Russian invasion began, the United Nations Refugee Agency UNHCR estimated more than 50,000 people had left Ukraine.

Just over two weeks later, the UN now estimates that at least 1.85 million people are displaced within Ukraine and 12.65 million people are directly affected by the conflict.

Meanwhile, the number of refugees in neighboring Ukraine has exceeded 2.5 million, UNHCR said, and as these numbers have increased, demand has changed.

“We’ve moved from last week’s supplies of food and warm clothing, which were in demand, to now only those supplies that really matter,” Van Bruggen said. “Mechanism is the priority right now.”

Van Bruggen, who has experience working under military contracts and has been in war zones in Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan, said he has witnessed human suffering on a massive scale. He said when conflict broke out, his first thought was to take a more direct approach.

“My first instinct was to go there and help fight, to join the conflict in some useful way,” van Bruggen said. “But what amazes me is that instead of putting myself on the plane, I can put a lot of necessary things on the plane.”

Pearson and van Bruggen launched the call for donations a week ago as part of what they called “remote protest” and have now received a large number of people who have filled and emptied their offices two years ago. time.

They are currently storing donations in a warehouse until they can be loaded onto planes and transported to refugees and to the front lines.

“It’s a full-time job for the two of us, but it’s happy,” Pearson said. “I think people are looking to contribute and I think that’s a great thing to see.”


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