A Bromley man has quit his job and flown out to Poland to assist with humanitarian aid following the war between Ukraine and Russia.

Craig Rackham text his mum asking her “not to freak out” after he spontaneously left his job working nights at Waitrose and flew out to Rzeszów in Poland on March 7.

He left with just a backpack containing the bare essentials and has been volunteering in Poland ever since.

Craig, 46, told the News Shopper: “I was sat at home watching the news and seeing all of the videos on Twitter and suddenly I had the urge that I needed to help.

“A lot of the other volunteers I have spoken to have done this before, but I have never done anything like this in my life.

“It is a massive eye-opener.”

News Shopper: The train station in Rzeszów, PolandThe train station in Rzeszów, Poland

He started reaching out to organisations in Poland that were helping on the border but did not receive a response due to many of the charities being overwhelmed.

“I just said to myself ‘I am just going to go and see if I can help when I get there’,” Craig explained.

Craig didn’t tell his family until he had already arrived in Poland because he thought they would try and stop him.

He explained that there was a mixed reaction from his parents and siblings, but after the initial shock, they all supported what he was doing.

“I text my mum saying ‘do not freak out and try and stay calm but this is what I have done.’

“I was working nights at Waitrose, but I really wasn’t happy there.

“I had been wanting to get out for a long while, but this was still very spontaneous,” Craig said.

He flew from Stansted to Rzeszów, which is close to the Ukrainian border, to begin his journey in supporting the humanitarian crisis.

Craig explained: “It hit me when I first arrived at the train station because it was just packed full of women and children, you didn’t really see any guys because a lot of them had stayed behind to fight,

“It was quite hard sitting there eating your lunch being surrounded by people who had just run from war.

“I was wondering what was going through the kids’ minds and if they understood what was happening.”

He began checking social media groups and discovered that there was a refugee centre in the city.

News Shopper: The Full Market refugee centre in Rzeszów has more than 500 beds The Full Market refugee centre in Rzeszów has more than 500 beds


Craig explained that he didn’t speak Polish or Ukrainian, but this was ideal because they needed an English speaker.

The Full Market refugee centre in Rzeszów has more than 500 beds with a dining area, clothing store, toilet facilities, play area and a medical team on site.

News Shopper: Sorting medical supplies at the Aid HubSorting medical supplies at the Aid Hub

Craig said: “I worked there for a few days, particularly with the deliveries that were coming in.

“You just can’t believe the scale of the operation that is going on and how much the people of Poland are helping the Ukrainians.”

News Shopper: A delivery of supplies to the aid hubA delivery of supplies to the aid hub

A few days later Craig was picked up by a driver at 6am who was taking supplies to the border.

He was moved to the Budomierz-Hrushiv border crossing to assist with a charity named Skrzydlem Anioła, or Under The Angel’s Wing in English.

The supply hub is run by the people of The Folkowisko Foundation and so far they have sent 2,000 tons of humanitarian aid across the border to help those in need.

Craig said: “The majority of those working with the organization are from Poland, but I’ve met other volunteers here from the UK, Colombia, France, Germany, Spain and the United States.

“I’ve met some awesome people and made some good friends.

“At night we are all camped together on the floor of the warehouse in our sleeping bags.

News Shopper: The sleeping quarters for volunteersThe sleeping quarters for volunteers

“I was speaking to one American who was telling me that they were working at Starbucks in New York and just quit to come over, just like me.”

On his second morning at the supply hub, Craig awoke to the news that there had been an airstrike in Yaroviv, Lviv.

This was around ten kilometres from the border, less than an hour's drive away from Craig’s location.

“The hub sent out a medical team and it was the first time it felt too close for comfort,” he added.

After a few weeks, Craig fell sick and took some time off from his volunteering to recover but spent his time keeping tabs on the issues that were arising in the aid centres.

When he heard about how refugees and sponsors in the UK had been struggling to connect, he made it a personal mission to unite as many families to hosts as possible.

He is now delivering the UK Government’s Home For Ukraine documents to nine major cities within Poland for them to be displayed in the refugee centres and train stations.

News Shopper: UK Government’s Home For Ukraine documentsUK Government’s Home For Ukraine documents

He plans to stay in Poland as long as he can continue assisting with the crisis and has no plans to return home at this stage.

Craig has set up a GoFundMe to raise funds for his food, supplies, transportation and essential accommodation.

“I just want to get the message out that whoever you are, wherever you’re from, you can help - even as an average Joe like me,” he said.

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