Agent prepares to join Ukrainian aid convoy

By Lisa James
Home » Agent prepares to join Ukrainian aid convoy

Homeworker Carla Hodgson is preparing for a 1,200-mile drive to eastern Europe as part of a convoy taking aid to Ukraine this week.

Fareham-based Carla and husband Jason, who runs a European removal company, are leaving on Tuesday for the Romanian border where they will distribute their van load of essentials that have been donated by the local community.

The couple is joining forces in the convoy with a local charity called Jacobs Well, based in Gosport, which has connections in Romania.

Carla, a Hays Travel homeworker, told Travel Gossip: “We are driving one of our own vans, which is being loaded with many essential items, including nappies and wipes, personal care items for women and girls, first aid kits, toys, teddy bears and new books for children, non-perishable food, blankets, sleeping bags and clothes.

“We will drive from Gosport to Folkestone to the Eurotunnel. The route is about 1,200 miles each way, and we can see it will take about 20 hours (non-stop) but realistically we will need to stop at least three or four times to refuel the tanks, grab a bite to eat, and loo stops.

“Local businesses in Fareham are all doing collections, people have been very generous and their huge warehouse is full. Now the focus is on getting these items out.”

She explained: “Jason has been liaising with the charity. He left for France on Friday as he has a removal job this weekend and will be back on Monday to finalise trip details.

“Jason will be co-ordinating the customs clearances using his contacts, and I will book the Eurotunnel crossings we need.

“The distressing sights of people injured, homes destroyed, babies born in the basements and shelters, has moved me, as it has everyone.

“But the courage of the Ukrainians has really propelled the motivation to help them, in any way we can.

“We are both experienced continental drivers – we have driven all over Europe, to places like Venice, Slovenia, Croatia, Germany and Poland.

“Most of my travel colleagues jump on a plane, but we love road trips and exploring Europe by road is one of our passions, so we knew we could take this urge to help in a very practical direction.

“The UK and the rest of Europe have donated in their millions, but the real challenge is now the logistics of getting the items to where they will be most needed, near the borders of Ukraine, and this is a part we can play, based on our experiences in Europe on the road.”

The convoy is heading to Baia Mare, about 500 miles west of Kyiv.

Carla added: “We are heading to the Romania border with Ukraine. Most people seem to be heading for Poland, and that looks quite congested.

“The Romanian side hasn’t been receiving so much in aid supplies, so it will be well received in this area, as not all Ukrainians are exiting to Poland. Romania is the best route for those in southern Ukraine.

“We are asking local businesses to collect donations or direct individuals to the charity’s GoFundMe page.”

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