A woman from Oxford has thanked ‘kind-hearted’ people from across the city for their efforts to support people in war-torn Ukraine.

Jo Sandelson earlier this month joined other volunteers in Cornmarket outside the Clarendon Centre to gather donations to be sent to Ukraine.

She said she was impressed to see so many individual acts of kindness as people came together to help.

Ms Sandelson said: “I heard that volunteers were needed to help sort out warm clothes and other provisions for Ukraine, so Saturday last I found myself at the Clarendon Centre.

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“Several young students from the Ukrainian Society had rented a unit there and were packing warm clothes and blankets into boxes before driving them across Europe to those stranded in the country.

Oxford Mail:

“One of the students asked me to stand outside in Cornmarket and collect money instead of packing.

“To be honest I was happy to be in the fresh air for an hour or so as my knees aren’t as good as they used to be for sorting things on the floor.

“She pinned a large Ukrainian flag to my jacket, gave me a cardboard collection box, leaflets and some tupperware filled with blue and yellow ribbons with safety pins.”

Ms Sandelson added that while she was in Cornmarket hundreds of people passed by.

Oxford Mail:

She said: “A group of Girl Guides encouraged by their leader donated several pounds as they were walking around ticking off famous sites; a thin young man in a Sainsbury’s uniform whose family had fled as refugees from East Timor, put a £10 note in the box; a couple of elderly ladies I know passed by, unhappy that they didn’t have any cash on them, I offered them a ribbon anyway; a very old woman who was bent over, took some time to open the zip of her purse with her arthritic fingers to take out some coins.

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“Considering what a cashless society we now live in, by the time I went inside, there was well over £100 in the cardboard box in paper money as well as coins.”

Volunteers collected duvets, bags filled with medication and sanitary products. One woman even donated a couple of small mattresses. An elderly man donated a brand new pair of Doc Marten boots and there were boxes stacked half way up the wall as well as empty ones waiting to be filled with thermos flasks, paracetamol, bandages and clothes.

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Ms Sandelson added: “It wasn’t just the Ukrainian people who are suffering. At the end of my shift, I handed in my collection box and spoke to one of the young students.

Oxford Mail:

"She was concerned about her Ukrainian friends and their families and also about her own family in Russia. Knowing that every contribution no matter how small will make a difference felt good, and I was privileged to meet some of the most kind-hearted people in Oxford.”

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