Superintendent Rachel McNeil of the force's Diversity and Inclusion Academy had already coordinated four large collections among friends, family members, and neighbours, but quickly realised she needed a larger space to store the urgent medical supplies, sanitary products, clothing, toys, and other essential items donated.
She then contacted staff at the Ashford Designer Outlet, who provided her with rent-free access to a unit where members of the public can drop in to donate goods or money.
The volunteer-staffed centre is located at Unit 77, next door to Crew Clothing, and is open every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. until Sunday, July 3, 2022.
Rachel and her team are collecting 'Bags of Love' for displaced or orphaned Ukrainian children, as well as nutrient packs for soldiers fighting in the war, in addition to essential items such as food and medication.
'The conflict in Ukraine has been ongoing for more than 100 days and is having a terrible impact on millions of people, including children, whose lives were once very normal but have now been turned upside down,' Rachel said.
'Many people are now living without basic necessities like food and water, and each day is a struggle to survive. Like many others, I wanted to help and am grateful to everyone who has donated thus far.
'I'd also like to thank the Rotary Club of Ashford and the Ashford Designer Outlet for their tremendous assistance.'