More than 32 pallets of needed items collected by a boroughwide donation drive for Ukrainian refugees amid the ongoing Russian invasion have arrived in Kyiv, Councilman Robert Holden announced on Tuesday, April 5.
The donation drive was sponsored by Holden, Councilman James Gennaro, Polish Consul General Adrian Kubicki, Tony Di Piazza of the Federazione Italo-Americana Di Brooklyn and Queens, Associazione Culturale Italiana Di New York, and other members of the Queens Delegation and community organizations.
Originally, the goods were to be flown to the Polish city of Rzeszow near the Ukrainian border and distributed to refugees who fled to Poland. But thanks to the efforts and coordination from Kubicki, Rzeszow President Konrad Fijołek and Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, organizers of the drive were able to ship the goods directly to Kyiv in Ukraine.
“It’s great to hear that these supplies arrived directly and safely where they’re needed most: the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. While just a drop in the bucket of all the aid being sent from around the world, it’s a testament to the generosity and determination of the people of Queens. I thank all who donated and got this done,” Holden said.
For Gennaro, it was an honor to help organize the drive, which yielded many useful donations to the people of Ukraine, he said.
“This was a large-scale, joint effort that could not happen without the help of our partners. I’d like to thank Council member Holden for helping us coordinate the drive, the Queens Delegation, Tony Di Piazza, as well as the several groups and individuals who have turned this vision into a reality. I would also like to thank the many people who came out to donate to this great cause,” Gennaro said.
The lawmakers had teamed up to spearhead the initiative with Council members of the Queens Delegation — such as Council members Francisco Moya, Vickie Paladino, Selvena Brooks-Powers, Linda Lee, Nantasha Williams and Sandra Ung — who participated by opening drop-off sites.
The Associazione Culturale Italiana Di New York covered the cost of shipment.
On behalf of Kyiv and the Ukrainian society, Deputy Mayor-Secretary of the Kyiv City Council Volodymyr Bondarenko expressed their gratitude to the organizations for their continuous support of Ukraine and for providing aid for the Kyiv Humanitarian Aid Center.
“At this difficult time for the city of Kyiv and throughout Ukraine, we highly appreciate your unyielding support and as the unprecedented aggression against us does not cease, we continue relying on your further aid to establish the peaceful future in Ukraine,” Bondarenko wrote in a letter to the Italian American Association.
There were a total of 25 sponsors for the drive, assisting with logistics ranging from transport to outreach to financial assistance.
The long list of sponsors also includes the Federazione Italo-Americana Di Brooklyn and Queens, Commendatore Tony Di Piazza, Commendatore Joseph Ficalora, ECS Globe Air, WAW Humanitarian Goods, Fucsia Fitzgerald Nissoli, Ficalora Family Foundation, the CHAZAQ Organization, Chaverim of Queens, New York Community Bank, Maspeth Federal Savings Bank, Cross County Savings Bank, Webster Bank, Richmond County Savings Foundation and Seka Moving Company.