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Association "Kyiv Volunteer"

Story and photo: Sashko Borovskiy

Illustration: #AnnaIvanenko


Sashko went to the Dubler coffee shop at 8 A.M. on February 24, 2022, where he was a managing partner. He needed to draw up an action plan together with the co-owner and to solve the issue of paying wages to employees. To allow yourself to panic meant to leave about 70 people without money during the war. Given that notion, Sashko continued to work during the first days of the full-scale Russian invasion instead of external accountants (who had stopped answering).

The Dubler team understood that it was necessary to unite and start volunteering. On February 28, the employees who remained in Kyiv moved products from the warehouse to headquarters and began receiving requests for help. That’s when the Territorial Defense Forces were being formed and hundreds of people on checkpoints' duty were standing in lines for assault rifles. Sashko and his team knew how to feed people best of all, so they set about it. As early as 3 P.M., they were already carrying the first thousand sandwiches for the nearest Territorial Defense Forces. This is how the association Kyiv Volunteer was created.

The first week of volunteering flew by. Cooks who lived far from Dubler were provided with apartments closer to headquarters. The partners gave Sashko's team entire warehouses with food: there were so many products that the Kyiv Volunteer began to share them with other places. Aid networks expanded rapidly, with the number of partner institutions reaching 30 as well as upwards of 500 volunteers. In addition to the cooks, coordinators and those who delivered the food also joined the Kyiv Volunteer. According to Sashko, people who came to them were fantastic. For example, one of the first car volunteers was the CEO of the Varvar craft brewery: he served in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and on his free days he delivered products around Kyiv.

Sashko spent the nights in the bomb shelter, where he met a girl named Yulia who knew medicine and began to help with medicine supply. She processed the requests for medicines received by volunteers from all over the world. Yulia quickly took over the medical field operations, where she now coordinates the needs of Mykolaiv and the south and east of Ukraine in general.

Thus, Kyiv Volunteer is no longer limited to Kyiv. After the Armed Forces of Ukraine began to liberate Kyiv and Chernihiv regions from Russian troops, volunteers began to engage in humanitarian missions, and delivered aid to locals who had spent more than a month under occupation. Sashko says that what they saw gave them strength to continue volunteering. After all, anger at the invaders does not allow Ukrainians to stop.


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