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AOECS Emergency Fund for Ukraine in a nutshell

Over 38 000 kg of gluten free food shipped to Ukraine

For almost 1,5 years the AOECS Emergency Fund for Ukraine has been in operation. During this time the fund has collected over 160 000 € from the public and other generous donors. Over 38 000 kg of gluten free food has been shipped to Ukrainian coeliac families in need. The fund has also supported actions from various National Coeliac Societies who have helped coeliac refugees coming to their countries. The efforts will continue for as long as it is needed.

The work of getting food into conflict areas has not been easy and AOECS as an organisation has had to learn how to work with humanitarian aid since it has not been the focus for AOECS earlier. For example, learnings about that the transports of gluten free food have to be organised in a way that assures they actually reach people with coeliac disease who cannot eat food containing gluten.

Food arrive in Ukraine

Ukrainian Coeliac Society has been a key factor in getting gluten free food to people in Ukraine

One key factor in getting the gluten free food to where it is needed is the work of the Ukrainian Coeliac Society which with the help of volunteers has been able to distribute shipped-in food from Poland to people in need of help. Sometimes all the way to the front lines of the war risking their lives. The Ukrainian Coeliac Society is a full member of AOECS since before the war began.

” We quickly decided that besides helping refugees arriving in Poland, we also wanted to offer support to the people who remained in Ukraine. And this is where our international contacts we had maintained for years came into play: with the Ukrainian Coeliac Society and organisations of coeliacs associated in the AOECS”, says Małgorzata Źródlak, President of the Polish Coeliac Society.

Logistically, it has also been a challenge to transport the gluten free food into Ukraine, most often from Poland. A diversity of means of transportation have been used, from buses and trains in scheduled traffic to minibuses and smaller lorries.

Food Shipment

Volunteers get the work done

Each transport sent is received in Kyiv by volunteers from the Ukrainian Coeliac Society. The products are deposited in a warehouse and, after repackaging, sent to different corners of Ukraine. Around 1000 families with family members with coeliac disease have received one or more food packages.

Thanks to funds provided by AOECS, but also by other organisations and private individuals from Poland and abroad, we could, and we still can, buy and supply further pallets of gluten-free food to Ukraine. Thanks to these additional funds we also managed to employ a person who speaks Russian and Ukrainian, and she has been supporting us in preparing the food dispatches and in contacts with people from Ukraine several hours a week”, Małgorzata Źródlak, President of the Polish Coeliac Society

AOECS would like to thank each private individual, each organisation and business who in any shape or form has been involved in the gluten-free aid provided to Ukraine.

Ukrainian Volunteers 1000

One local initiative worth mentioning

Many people have donated and also made local actions to help get gluten free food into Ukraine. One worth mentioning is the Portuguese teenager Margarida who started a collection of gluten free food in Portugal. Both individuals and Portuguese companies helped out. The initiative from Margarida ended up in a massive shipment of 26 pallets of food that were transported from Portugal by lorry to the Polish Coeliac Society which had to rent a larger warehouse to store all food. Later, all Portuguese pallets were shipped into Ukraine and ended up in thankful hands of coeliacs in Ukraine.


If you wish to make a donation

Please do not forget the war is continuing and the need for gluten free food and help for refugees is still needed. If you wish to donate to the AOECS Emergency Fund, please read more here or contact your local National Coeliac Society.

AOECS Emergency Fund