FilmDirect of Brieselang, Germany, finds itself doling out more than industry products this spring. The Legend Paint Protection Film distributor is a mere 882 miles from Kyiv, Ukraine, a country under siege and in need of humanitarian aid. Owner Owen Lloyd and his team answered the call for help.
“Ukraine is about a seven-hour drive from where our company is located—we’re pretty close,” Lloyd says. “I was thinking, ‘There’s nowhere in our local area where people can donate essential items.’ I posted a notice on a local Facebook webpage: ‘If you want to donate, you can come to our company and drop off stuff at the warehouse.’”
Locals turned up within hours, with distant philanthropists delivering unannounced care via Amazon. “We did that for a week until it got to the stage where it was too much to manage and do our daily jobs,” Lloyd adds. “I then went to the local city hall [for coordination]. They gave us an empty building, and I organized 50 volunteers on Facebook for management. We’re open every day; so far, we’ve sent two lorry [truck] loads to Poland and Ukraine.”
*FilmDirect’s Collected Items
• Sleeping bags, blankets, sleeping pads
• Baby food
• First aid kits
• Hygiene (child/ baby)
• Underwear (ladies/children)
• Hygiene items
• Baby equipment
• Disposable tableware
• Walking aids, rollators, wheelchairs
• Pet food
• Batteries, flashlights
*Depending on the needs, the donations are sent directly to the Ukraine/Poland border region.
According to the United Nations, 3.6 million people had left Ukraine as of March 27. Poland has taken in 2,293,833, or 63.7%, of all refugees. “We found a local transport company that puts a trailer in a yard, and once it’s full, they take it free of charge into Poland for us,” Lloyd explains. “It’s quite incredible because the price of gas has gone up worldwide.”
Legend Paint Protection Film’s Kyiv-based distributor is also making an impact—on the battlefield. “They are using their vans to deliver food and medicine to people in Kyiv,” Lloyd says. “They’re also wrapping military vehicles in camouflage. We bought them bulletproof vests and helmets; while they’re delivering [aid], they could be caught in the crossfire.”
Lloyd says 10 Ukrainian families are located in the area, and all are welcome to pick up supplies if needed. His country is partnered with a NATO alliance that includes 30 independent member countries, but uncertainty abounds.
“It’s a feeling we’ve never had—something you would never foresee happening,” he says of Russia’s February 24 invasion.