BURRILLVILLE – Within weeks of the deadly tornados in Kentucky in December, volunteers with American Legion Berard Desjarlais Post 88 loaded up a massive truck with supplies, from food and water, to generators and cleaning supplies to help those affected by the tragedy.
Now, the Burrillville veteran’s post has mobilized in response to the latest humanitarian crisis, with a similar plan to help those in Ukraine following the recent Russian attacks.
Commander Raymond Trinque has announced that on Saturday, March 12, post members will again pack a truck with supplies, this time to help victims in the eastern European country.
The post is now collecting non-perishable foods, first aid, hand sanitizer, generators, tarps, batteries, flashlights, pet products, heavy duty outdoor extension cords, new clothes and more to be shipped off to Ukraine.
It will be the second time in recent months that the post organizes a quick local response to a crisis. In December, Trinque worked with officials at American Legion Post 23 in Bowling Green, Ky. to send aid to the state with a focus on victims who have served their country.
Trinque had been leading a second collection drive for the tornado victims, collecting hand-knit items such as blankets, comforters, sweaters, hats and mittens to be driven out to friends in the southern state this month.
But after speaking to Kentucky officials, the two veteran groups decided that aid should be directed to where it is now most needed.
“Kentucky is doing better, and only looking for cots and sleeping bags,” Trinque said. “Post 23 would like to see the people of the Ukraine receive these items. They are all for our donation to Ukraine, and we will donate jointly with Post 23.”
As such, at 6 a.m. Saturday morning, a truck will depart from the Binns Building at 111 Chapel St. in Harrisville headed to Cardi’s Furniture & Mattresses. The supplies collected by the Burrillville post will be added to items donated to the furniture store’s Ukrainian Relief drive.
“As the country of Ukraine is facing its darkest hour after the Russian invasion began on the morning of February 24, 2022, there are many military and civilian casualties, homes destroyed, and millions of people displaced and forced to flee,” noted a release on the drive from Cardi’s. “Those that have remained in Ukraine are facing difficulties unlike anything they have experienced with shortages of daily living necessities such as heat, food, water, clothing.”
All collected supplies will be sent in containers directly to Lviv, Ukraine via Krakow, Poland to help those in need.
Post 88 is accepting additional items for the relief effort through Saturday morning, and has asked that donors now turn their focus towards essentials, such as food, over-the-counter medicine, first aid and personal hygiene items. Underwear, socks, footwear, blankets, towels, diapers, paper plates, plasticware and pet food are welcome, but the drive is not accepting water.
The donations will be added to piles of supplies already collected in Burrillville, and packed for shipping.
“The items we have are mostly beautiful hand-knitted items,” Trinque said.
Donations can be dropped off at the Binns Building right up until the truck departs at 6 a.m. Items can also be left at Lawrence Brothers Hardware on Chapel Street, or donors can arrange for pick up by calling (401) 651-5634.
Those who cannot help with supplies or who would prefer to help with a monetary donation are asked to contribute at http://arpin-strong.org/. Arpin International Group will be matching donations up to $10,000.