October 31, 2023
Since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Scottish charity Siobhan’s Trust has been working 24/7 to bring pizza and positivity to the people of Ukraine. Siobhan’s Trust serves up to 5000 hot pizzas, hot drinks,fruit and snacks in one day, putting a smile on the faces of the most vulnerable people in Ukraine. Siobhan’s Trust's amazing operation is run by dedicated volunteers consisting of a mobile fleet of 8 freezer and pizza oven trucks. To date, Siobhan’s Trust has served over a million pizzas and helped another Scottish based charity facilitate over 65 arctic trucks of medical and humanitarian aid from Scotland to Ukraine.
David Fox-Pitt, one of the trustees of the charity, and Jo Fox-Pitt, who assists in recruiting volunteers, are motivated by a deep compassion and admiration for the people of Ukraine. David says:
“It’s an honour to help Ukraine, they are remarkable, extraordinary people and I have grown to love them and have respect for their determination. They are an example to the world, but they are also human. They must continue to get support, and that is one of my really important messages.”
While David is regularly on the ground in Ukraine, Jo holds the fort in Scotland, adding a personal touch to volunteers’ applications.
The core mission behind Siobhan’s Trust work in Ukraine is not only to deliver humanitarian aid but to communicate the support of the international community. David explains:
“The most important thing about Siobhan’s Trust is our presence. We represent the international community. So wherever we are, people say, Ah, you come from other countries, you care about us! That is the message, that they have not been forgotten. Ukrainians are terrified that the West has forgotten, like they did in 2014 when the invasion started. The fact that we are present from other countries means the world to Ukrainian people.”
To communicate this message, many of the volunteers wear a kilt in Ukrainian colours.
Siobhan’s Trust was created in 2020 to commemorate the life of Siobhan Dundee, supporting young people and the environment in and around Dundee in Scotland. When the full-scale invasion of Ukraine occurred, David, who runs the events and logistics business WildFox Events Ltds, took a leap of faith and moved his convoy to the Poland-Ukraine border to bring donations of food and clothing to refugees. Jo explains:
“Seeing queues of people on television triggers historic memories of World War 2. Many of us lost grandparents in the war – we feel empathy, sympathy and compassion for people who are having a difficult time in their lives.”
Siobhan’s Trust provides support where the need is greatest, often in areas close to the Front Line that are “no go” for NGOs and larger charities, where people are surviving without water, gas or electricity. So far, Siobhan’s Trust has attracted around 300 international volunteers from countries as diverse as Kenya, America, Canada, France and the UK. David explains:
“It’s a really wonderful atmosphere; it’s very emotional. Of the many people who come, 90% return. It’s giving, it’s about love and compassion. It’s created something really magical that has a huge impact.”
The dedication and enthusiasm of Siobhan’s Trust’s volunteers are clear to see. Seth from New York explains:
“I’ve come here to Ukraine to feed people and show a little bit of love from America.”
Pat from Buffalo, New York says:
“I came out here to help and serve the Ukrainian cause and community - I felt very strongly about it. I’ve had an amazing time and met amazing people.”
Luke from the UK says:
“I’ve come to Ukraine to put a smile on people’s faces - even if it’s just for a day - and have a good time and meet some wonderful people while doing it.”
The Trust was recently joined by clowns from a circus to contribute to the positive atmosphere.
Siobhan’s Trust has a base in Lviv and a roaming team who go where the need is greatest. There is also a permanent van in Zaporizhzhia, which feeds rescue workers. David says:
“It’s exhausting, emotionally, mentally and physically, but we believe in Ukraine and we believe in its amazing people. I feel so passionate about Ukraine and that we do not forget Ukraine because it’s not just Ukraine’s war, it’s our war.”
There are a number of ways you can support Siobhan’s Trust. If you would like to volunteer with Siobhan’s Trust, you can apply first online, listing any special skills you have. The Trust recommends that you are able to commit to at least a week’s volunteering, due to the time needed to travel to and from Ukraine. When your application is received, you will then be offered a chat with Jo to ensure that you and the charity are a good fit. You don’t need to have advanced cooking skills, just to be practical and reasonably healthy. Good spoken English is important to ensure your safety. HGV drivers are very much needed.
If volunteering in person is not possible for you, you can also sponsor another volunteer to go. Setting up a fundraiser for Siobhan’s Trust enables money to be spread across the charity where it is needed most, whether to fund volunteers, fuel or food costs. The charity is also seeking a social media intern to promote the trust. A Ukrainian national or Ukrainian speaker would be ideal for this position.