Two North Bay residents are raising money to buy non-lethal protective gear for Ukrainians fighting against invading Russians.
The Vest Project was created by Cindie D’Agostino and Lori Burns.
“We have Ukrainian friends in our community, in Ontario and in Canada, who have family in Ukraine who have been displaced or left behind to defend their country, which is now being devastated,” says D’Agostino.
She says they got the idea after bringing other donations to Canada Meat Group in North Bay, who were running into logistical issues with figuring out how to get protective equipment overseas.
“The easiest thing to do was to raise the funds, send it over, have (the equipment) purchased over there and get it to the civilians who are having to fight in their street clothes,” D’Agostino says.
She also says there is no room for complacency.
“Everyone needs to act now because this could be the beginning of a larger plot by Vladimir Putin to re-take countries that were once a part of the Soviet Union,” says D’Agostino.
She says there’s no real fundraising goal because the equipment is expensive.
“The vests, the helmets, the goggles, and we want to buy gas masks because there has been talk of that possibly (happening),” D’Agostino says. “The way things have been going we just want them to have what they need.”
Burns says it’s their moral duty to outfit as many freedom fighters as possible.
“People have been unsure what to do to help, we’re providing a platform where people can join in,” she says. “Our goal is to provide the opportunity for people to support the frontline defenders, through donations. All funds go directly to the purchase of non-lethal defensive protective gear for the freedom fighters of Ukraine.”
The campaign launches Saturday, March 26 at Orchards Fresh Food Market, 2621 Trout Lake Road in North Bay. The event will run from 10 AM until 4 PM.
The Vest Project says events and fundraising will continue until Ukraine is free of war.
For more information or to donate visit www.thevestproject.com.
With files from Richard Coffin