A couple from Shrewsbury took their catering skills to the Polish/Ukrainian border to help provide meals for Ukrainian refugees and completed the journey by bringing a stranded Ukrainian family back to Poland.
Former teacher Angela Auerbach and her husband Nic launched The Gorgeous Pizza Company Ltd in the midst of lockdown after moving to Shrewsbury from Leicestershire in 2020. They have been supported by the Silverpreneurs® scheme which helps the over-50s in setting up or revitalising their own businesses.
But Angela and Nic put their business aspirations on hold after seeing the horror of the refugee crisis in war-torn Ukraine.
They travelled to the Polish border town of Przemysl to work with the international relief agencies for a week, preparing and serving food to the thousands of refugees arriving across the border every day.
They had also raised funds locally before leaving which they used to buy supplies and equipment to take over the border to the Ukrainian city of Lviv to help the refugee crisis.
Angela said that she and Nic had watched the news coverage of the invasion of Ukraine and decided they had to act.
“We did some fund raising and then travelled to Przemysl to work with the World Central Kitchen where we were prepping food and serving in the reception centres.
“We were also able to use the money that people had donated to buy supplies and equipment to take to Lviv to help with the relief effort there. When we came back over the border we brought a mother and her two teenage children with us.
“They had come to Lviv from the capital Kyiv and had been sheltering underground for nine days after the building next to theirs was bombed,” said Angela.
She explained how they had seen almost constant air raids during their journey across the border and later found out about the bombing of the Ukrainian military base near Lviv.
“We are still trying to process what we saw over there. It is almost impossible to describe the scene with so many people arriving over the border on foot every day. We were mobbed by people asking for help – it was really quite manic,” said Angela.
The mother and her teenage children went on to Poznan in Poland and have since been granted UK visas and been matched with a family. They are due to arrive in this country in May.
“We have kept in touch with them and will see them again when they arrive in the UK. The teenage son celebrated his 16th birthday the day we arrived back in Poland – it was very difficult to appreciate what they had been through,” said Angela.
Now the couple, who have a stall in Wellington Market as well as an event catering company, are planning to return to the Polish border in June to help with the relief efforts.
They are continuing to raise funds through the Ukraine Food Appeal. Donations can be made at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/feed-ukraine-free-food-for-ukrainian-refugees?fbclid=IwAR1D3tYnvHG8sW4mIkQUrGmh6BHsxzZxh7dOr22y_Wo22QZSyZg5tN6ez8o
Pic caption: Nic and Angela Auerbach in Przemysl on the Poland/Ukraine border