By Beatrix Turner, Rotary Club of Budapest-Margitsziget, Hungary
My Rotary club wanted to do our part to help the people of Ukraine after hearing about the terrible war in their country. We were honored to be able to join three other clubs, Berlin-Gendarmenmarkt, Germany, Paris-Quai d’Orsay, France, and Milano Sud-Ovest, Italy, to coordinate an €18,000 project to collect and deliver donations to help Ukrainian refugees.
Robert Rojak, the president of the Intercountry Committee for Ukraine-Hungary and a member of the Rotary Club of Uzhgorod, Ukraine, helped us compile a list of needed supplies. He has been instrumental in coordinating incoming donations and distributing them to places where they are needed inside Ukraine. We received our list of essentials for daily life and spent a busy two weeks collecting items.
The Bethesda Children’s Hospital in Budapest helped us prepare medicines, bandages, and blood infusion supplies. We collected a huge amount and were happy with the results.
Our next challenge would be transportation. We connected with the Hungarian Reformed Church Charity Service, a lovely team of people who were a pleasure to work with. They provided us with an experienced driver who had a diplomatic passport, and the entire border crossing went smoothly.
During the entire operation, we were amazed by the cooperation, love, and spirit of selflessness demonstrated by all the people we worked with.
To be honest, I was very tense when we reached the Ukraine border. We were transporting a valuable cargo of relief supplies and wanted the operation to go well. We made it across the border quickly and met with Robert, who helped us unload everything. I was so relieved and happy that it had worked out successfully.
Robert’s wife asked if we had been afraid and I answered that we were not because of the skilled people we worked with. It was an exciting project and a wonderful example of Rotary in action.