A Somerset restaurant owner’s journey to deliver aid in Ukraine

by Crowdfunder | Mar 16, 2022 | Stories

A Somerset restaurant owner’s journey to deliver aid in Ukraine

At Crowdfunder, we have seen incredible spirit from humans across the globe with thousands offering their time, money, and resources to help the people of Ukraine.

Wanting to play his part in the relief efforts, Gareth Witt, a Somerset restaurant owner, made the incredible decision to drive a van full of supplies from his Yeovil home to the Ukrainian border. He called on his friends, family, and the customers of his Cow & Apple restaurants in Yeovil and Dorchester, asking them to donate anything they could. 

More than 500 people came forward to donate items, including the pupils of Kingfisher Primary School where his son attends.

To help him cover travel costs, he set up a crowdfunding campaign with a target of just £250… 

Now he’s chasing down a ‘stretch’ target of £30,000 to purchase supplies from his base in Medyka in southern Poland, about 80 kilometres west of Lviv. The money raised is helping to meet the urgent demand for wet wipes, baby food, nappies, baby shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, sanitary items, batteries and torches. 

Since he arrived at the border, Gareth has been posting regular updates to his supporters on his crowdfunding page, telling stories from the ground.

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He said, “We set up the Crowdfunder page to get over to the border between Poland and Ukraine to take over some aid. We started with a £250 target, not knowing what to expect but wanting to do something.

“I feel proud to say we’ve helped a lot of people and I can’t speak highly enough of the volunteers here. They’re all amazing people from the administrators to the people greeting refugees.

“Everyone has managed to jump into it with mostly self-funded trips or very small charities. It’s hard to comprehend how it’s happened.”

Witt has been overwhelmed by the support he’s received both from home and around the world on Crowdfunder.

He added, “The response has been overwhelming. We’re fast seeing that more money means we can continue to help more Ukrainians in this horrendous and desperate situation. I want to say thanks again to everyone who has supported my Crowdfunder campaign. I’m still in shock over the total we have raised, and it just keeps going up. Looks like we’ll be getting more than one bus sorted!”

It’s not the first time that the businessman has turned to crowdfunding. In 2016, his first restaurant in Yeovil was backed by a successful crowdfunding campaign to help with finishing touches.

Simon Deverell, Co-founder and Creative Director, said: “Gareth’s campaign and selfless response to this horrendous situation is utterly immense and nothing short of heroic. We’re seeing stories of normal people stepping up and facing this oppression and humanitarian crisis.

“When we feel powerless to do anything, to make a difference and help in the situations, Gareth and others like him are offering us all a way to fight the good fight and have a voice.” 

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