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Businesses across the country have set up charitable initiatives to aid Ukrainians as the crisis continues, but official charities have urged people to think wisely about the items they are giving to help the displaced.

The Irish Red Cross encouraged members of the public last week to donate money as opposed to physical goods, as transporting them to Ukraine would pose logistical difficulties. 

“In circumstances of disaster, the Red Cross always advises against sending goods to affected areas as it is very difficult to get these goods into a country in crisis and to distribute them to the right people,” the charity said in a statement. 

Some Irish businesses, however, have requested specific items alongside financial support. The Art of Coffee, a Ukrainian owned café chain with 14 premises across Dublin, has set up a fundraiser on their website that will remain open until the summer months. They have also appealed for a  select number of items, such as medical equipment and baby food, to be dropped off at their branches in recent days. 

The practicality of contributions was called into question after the airing of an RTÉ news report last week, which revealed a pair of red stiletto heels had been sent to assist Ukrainian refugees arriving across the Polish border. Keane Thompson, an estate agency who are collecting goods from their office in Sandyford Village, also reported receiving items such as used underwear and cocktail dresses. 

A spokesperson from the company confirmed that they would not be sending out inappropriate items in order to respect the dignity of Ukrainian people fleeing the conflict. 

The Art of Coffee’s online fundraising drive is available to view at https://www.idonate.ie/fundraiser/11430721_art-of-coffee-helping-ukraine.html . The company has to date raised approximately 13,000 euros out of a staggering 100,000 target. 

More recently, transport operators have also volunteered to assist Ukrainian refugees arriving in Ireland. The government has estimated that up to 100,000 Ukrainians could travel to Ireland in the coming weeks as the war continues. 

Both Bus Éireann and Irish Rail have pledged to provide refugees with their initial transport into the country free of charge, a move that is in line with other European transport authorities. 

Proof of a Ukrainian passport may be required for those travelling to their new accommodation, a spokesperson has said.

Journalism Student at DCU. Contributor at Her Campus and The College View. Email: roisin.butler9@mail.dcu.ie
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