By Isabel Vander Stoep / [email protected]
The Lewis-Cowlitz County border and the Ukraine-Poland border may be more than 5,000 miles apart, but people who live near both are currently united in a common goal: to help refugees. Ukrainians.
Three Rotary clubs in Lewis County – Centralia, Chehalis and Twin Cities clubs – and four in Cowlitz County – Woodland, Kelso, Longview and Longview Early Edition clubs – recently held Zoom meetings with Rotarians in Zamosc, Poland, about 30 miles from the Ukrainian border.
The Longview Daily News reported that the clubs had collaborated to send around $20,000 to their Polish counterparts over the past few weeks to help them in their efforts to provide Ukrainian refugees with medical supplies, transport, food and supplies. ‘other services.
Monday at noon Pacific time, 9 p.m. Poland, The Chronicle joined a Zoom call between the eight clubs, where the Polish club, Rotary Club Zamosc Ordynacki, spoke about their work through a translator.
An editor of the German-Austrian Rotary magazine was also on the call and told clubs in Washington: “What I can say is that I’ve been here for four days now and it’s impressive what clubs here, especially this one here. So if you can support the clubs here, that would be the best you can do. Absolutely.”
Zamosc Ordynacki club representative Włodzimierz Bentkowski (nicknamed Wlodek) spoke through the translator while another Rotarian showed pictures of the club’s humanitarian efforts.
Footage showed Rotarians at refugee centers handing out food and toys, loading boxes of supplies and helping refugees onto buses.
“It must be said that in Poland we are safe and it is only because NATO ensures the security of our country. We are very grateful,” Wlodek said, later adding, “People are still very scared and the tourist trips that were supposed to come to Poland, many of them were canceled because of the war. People are fundamentally afraid that it will escalate beyond the Ukrainian border. But generally, we feel safe.
Anil Puri of Centralia, who leads the district encompassing the seven regional clubs in Lewis and Cowlitz counties, said the district intends to continue fundraising for the Polish club. He also mentioned their need for medical equipment and asked that The Chronicle include the need “to inspire medical professionals in our community”.
Previously, clubs in the region could send bandages and other equipment to members of Polish clubs. Sending money is easier because they can avoid paying import taxes. However, some supplies simply cannot be purchased in Poland at this time.
Anyone can donate to the Rotary Disaster Relief Fund online at https://my.rotary.org/en/disaster-response-fund.