Efforts are underway in Red Deer to raise money to ship emergency medical supplies and baby formula to help the people of Ukraine.
Donations can be dropped off at Viva-Deli, located at #5 4324-54th Ave.
Deli owner Iness Allan-Kojlo said the response was “overwhelming and amazing” when the call went out earlier this week out for supplies like food, clothing and other emergency supplies.
“We have a really good community here,” said Allan-Kojlo, who has also organized recent Red Deer rallies in support of Ukraine.
But she said efforts to arrange transportation have been difficult so the immediate focus of the local campaign is to ship urgently needed medical supplies and baby formula by plane this weekend.
“The money we collect we’re going to use some for shipping and we’re going to buy some medical equipment.”
Allan-Kojlo, who didn’t grow up in Ukraine but has family and friends living there, said she has heard about mothers who are so stressed they can’t produce milk for their babies.
“The stores are destroyed. They have no pharmacy — nothing. I know these people personally. It’s real.”
“I want to send medical supplies as soon as possible. We have to send it. They need it. My goal is just to help people who are suffering.”
She said other supplies, like food and clothing that have been donated, will be sent later.
On Thursday, Russian forces battled for control of a vital energy-producing city in Ukraine’s south and also gained ground in their bid to cut off the country from the sea, as Ukrainian leaders called on citizens to wage guerrilla war against the invaders.
The fighting at Enerhodar, a city on the Dnieper River that accounts for about one-quarter of the country’s power generation, came as the two sides met for another round of talks aimed at stopping the bloodshed that has set off an exodus of over 1 million refugees.
Russian forces have brought their superior firepower to bear in the past few days, launching missile and artillery attacks on civilian areas and making significant gains in the south as part of an effort to sever the country’s connection to the Black and Azov seas.
A second round of talks between Ukrainian and Russian delegations began in neighboring Belarus.
But the two sides appeared to have little common ground going into the meeting, and Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Ukraine that it must quickly accept the Kremlin’s demand for its “demilitarization” and declare itself neutral, formally renouncing its bid to join NATO.
— With files from The Associated Press