Micky Kelly told he’s left ‘massive Derry footprint of kindness’ in Ukraine

Micky Kelly was told by refugees in the Ukraine at the weekend that a ‘massive kindness footprint’ had been left behind from Derry, writes Kevin Mullan.

The Greysteel man has spent the past week distributing car loads of food, medical and other essentials to those displaced by the war in the Lviv Oblast.

Incredibly, he took off in a hatchback filled with supplies paid for by donations from family and friends and a Credit Union loan last Tuesday. He had to do something.

Speaking to the ‘Journal’ after driving across Europe, he explained: “Where I dropped the supplies off is a warehouse that used to be a festival location. They took it upon themselves to run a refugee camp.

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“They are organising the distribution of food around this area. There are so many refugees. You would have to see it to believe it.”

IN PICTURES: Micky Kelly drives across Europe with car loads of aid for UkraineMicky has been based in Nahachiv, not far from the Polish border cities of Przemyśl and Jaroslaw where many of the displaced are destined.

“This is where all the refugees trying to cross the border come to. Right now there is a line of cars a mile long trying to get out of Ukraine.

“Any time any of the refugees arrive myself and a couple of Polish and Ukrainian guys try to help these people.

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“First we take them to the aid people to ensure they are okay and then the Polish people have set up a soup camp to get them fed before they are processed at the border and put on buses to other parts of Europe,” he says.

Some of the sights Micky has witnessed on the road side have been harrowing to say the least.

“It’s sad. It really is. There are tears and there are hugs. People don’t know if they will see one another again,” he says. Micky had been determined to organise some relief on his own but the support he received once he let people know of his intentions has been a great help.

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Over the weekend Micky received another transfer of funds from Derry and bought more food and groceries. This was immediately used to provide sustenance to those escaping the brutal war in the Donbas.

“My friends and family sent more and more funds, so I’ve filled the car three times. On Saturday evening I bought bread, cheese, ham, pickles and loads of other stuff.

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“We just got it lifted and word came in that eight buses had travelled from Mariupol and they were stuck at the Budomierz border for five hours with no food. So all the supplies that I had bought with the money they sent was used to make sandwiches for those buses. I travelled with GOAL to deliver them. They were more than well received I can tell you.”

He says there is still a clear need for essential aid and supplies and warned against complacency or charity fatigue on the part of the west.

“Some of the sights you would see...I saw a woman and her three year old child who had its head hung over a suitcase. It was like something out of the First or Second World War. There is so much sadness but there are so many nice people. Everybody is trying to help everybody out.”

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Micky left the Ukraine yesterday morning to make the 2,100km drive to Cherbourg where he has a ferry to catch on Wednesday. “I was told today that when I go I’ll leave behind a massive kindness footprint from Derry. That’s actually class.” says Micky.