Nine packed containers and more than a quarter of a million euros to Ukraine. Readers, thank you!

Sleeping bags, ski clothes, brand new duvets, boxes of vitamin pills, non-perishable food: Northerners brought goods (and money!) to the editorial office of Dagblad van het Noorden and Leeuwarder Courant yesterday. Nine packed containers travel to Ukraine, a country at war. “Overwhelming and moving.”

He lay awake. What if no dog got in on the action. Or what if too many items arrived?

Journalist Patrick van ‘t Haar (50) from Leeuwarden Courant is overwhelmed by the success of his newspaper’s fundraising campaign and Nordens Avis . “What an attendance, what commitment! Nine containers filled with goods and more than 250,000 euros. With this, we can make a difference for Ukrainians, in a country where so much has been destroyed.”

Fully loaded vans

The collection in the parking lot of the newsrooms in Groningen, Emmen and Leeuwarden started at 10 o’clock, but the first generous donors arrived just after 9 o’clock. They also come with fully loaded vans, cars, bicycles.

They bring neatly packed clothes. Winter clothes, ski clothes, thermal clothes. Sleeping bags, duvets – still new in the packaging – wool blankets. Tents. A grill device. An old-fashioned stove. Aggregates. Flashlights. Hugs to the children.

They bring food. A couple bought 300 euros worth of non-perishable food. Another brings cans of juice. Pasta. liter of sunflower oil. Prayers. Sloppy cigarettes. They bring toothbrushes, diapers, sanitary napkins.

Spontaneous help

In Groningen, all those boxes and bags end up on a huge hump in the rain. Before the goods enter the containers, they must be sorted and labeled. People who spontaneously bring things decide to stay to help the volunteers.

Also Piet Wiersema (67) and his wife Gerda (62) from Spijk. They read about the action, shared it in the village: everyone could deliver goods to them. After unloading their bus in Groningen, it serves as a shelter from the rain for hours, it is the place to write labels.

Or like Julius Drent (14) from Haren. Together with his mother and his sisters Eloise (12) and Hilène (7), he brings candles, matches, sweaters, ski suits and jackets. All three of them help to load the pile of things into the containers, their mother stays in the car with corona. Julius stays for hours and turns out to be the top helper.

A small idea became big

Van ‘t Haar, involved in the war in Ukraine as a journalist, had an idea a few weeks ago. ,,I thought: we put a container at the editorial office in Leeuwarden, where our readers can donate things to the Ukrainian population. Evert responded quite enthusiastically to that.”

Evert is Evert van Dijk (57), editor-in-chief at Nordens Avis . He made 9 containers out of it and came up with a donation campaign on the side. Van Dijk is overwhelmed by the involvement of the readers, also by the amount of goods and money.

“It’s definitely worth repeating,” he says.

‘We don’t want to sit on our hands’

Whether such action is appropriate for an independent newspaper? Van Dijk is aware of that. “As editors, we don’t sit on our hands with so much misery. Then we are happy that we can mean something to people in the greatest possible difficulties.’

Initiator Van ‘t Haar supports Van Dijk’s words. “As a newspaper, you form a community with your readers. I think it’s great to see that so many people make an effort to contribute something.’

Like a lady from Emmen who brings baby hats, knitted by her and a friend. Such as Gerrit Postma from IJhorst, who supplies gas cylinders, stoves and canned goods in Emmen. “Make no mistake, this is a war in our front yard,” he says.

Or as a woman who brings 35 bags full of clothes to Emmen, belonging to her recently deceased father. “It was his wish that things end up in a good place. Then Ukraine seems like a good destination for me.”

You can make a contribution up to and including 23:59 on New Year’s Eve at whydonate.nl/nl/fundraising/help-ukraine-nu .

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