Ramsgate café owner’s 6 ton aid delivery in latest journey to war-torn Ukraine

Kevin delivers supplies to a military hospital in Ukraine

A Ramsgate café owner has just returned from his latest trip into Ukraine delivering some six ton of aid  in the war-torn country.

Topps Café owner Kevin Cromeeke has been making the humanitarian trips since the upscaling of Russian aggression in Ukraine in February 2022. He has travelled out from the UK more than a dozen times, heading to schools and hospitals as well as villages on the outskirts of under-fire Kharkiv, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Dnipro.

In total, since 2022, Kevin has taken 18 ton of aid from the UK and an additional 25 ton from the Polish border into Ukraine.

Village delivery

The 60-year-old embarked on his most recent journey on November 28, crossing the Polish border into Ukraine on December 1.

During the next five weeks he and French counterpart Quentin travelled 15,000 kilometres delivering the aid, which included more than 4.000 portions of cuppa soup as well as rice, noodles, porridge and high energy foods; hygiene, sanitary and medical aid; more than one and a half ton of warm winter clothing and bedding (shown above) and 100 burn shields to military hospitals.

The winter clothing and bedding has been essential with the harsh Ukraine winter seeing temperatures plummet to -12.

Kevin said: “Last winter was not that cold so I had a good sense that it would be a hard one this time around and had been collecting through the summer.

“One of the organisations I work with had a couple of empty vans going out to Ukraine and I had an enormous amount of bedding and winter clothing so they took it, around two ton, and put it in storage in Kyiv in September ready for me this trip.”

War damage

Kevin has travelled to numerous outlying villages, that are without electric and running water, to make sure the people there get food, medical supplies and even children’s games and sweet packages. He also delivers to hospitals, schools, refugee camps, community centres and the military as servicemen and women are only issued with basics by the government.

He said: “It’s all or nothing, there are no halfway measures. You have to be 100% committed to do this or otherwise be a donator and help that way.

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“In Ukraine the public are resilient and upbeat. The military are under enormous pressure and I take things like socks and energy bars and energy drinks as the government can provide a certain amount of stuff but not everything.

“We go right to within 6km of the frontline to get stuff to those stranded in the villages, this trip we were delivering in -11 temperatures and the roads were frozen so it was quite slow to get done and then we spent another week going backwards and forwards delivering animal feed.”

During the trip Tablets were also delivered to help schoolchildren continue their learning online and Kevin ended up with an extra passenger after helping to bring a rescue dog back to the UK. The dog is now with a family in Derby.

Kevin is now collecting for the next trip at the end of March. This time winter clothes are not needed but he is appealing for donations of cup soups (which can be taken out of the box so a greater volume can be transported) rice, pasta, dried foods, ready meals, pot noodles, tinned meat and fish, energy drinks (milkshakes rather than fizzy) protein bars, sanitary and hygiene items such as nappies (child and adult) shower gel, soap; medical items like aspirin, ibuprofen and co-codamol.

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The dad-of-two has also had an 18-seat partly converted minibus donated which, if financially viable to get on the road, will allow him to carry around three times the load he can currently manage.

However, Kevin has been funding the trips for some two years now and his reserve is depleted.

He said: “I vowed from the beginning that I would not stop until the end of the war but fuel and ferries cost me about £2000 each trip and that has depleted my own money. With rising fuel bills I am really struggling  to finance the trips.”

Food and medical donations can be made at Peter’s Hairdressers in Plains of Waterloo or message Kevin on his facebook page here and he will collect

Donations can also be made online via the fundraising page here

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded and occupied parts of Ukraine in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War, which began in 2014. The invasion has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and instigated Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II.

Ramsgate cafe owner’s mission taking aid to the people of war torn Ukraine

5 Comments

  1. I would like to make a donation but don’t use facebook, and am virtually housebound, can someone contact me via Kathy so I can donate cash?

  2. Very noble deeds by a great man! It’s a pity the Ukrainian leadership is hell bent on corruption, buying mansions all over the world and having ocean going yachts in Monaco’s marina. Where do you think all those $ billions vanish to? Don’t believe me? Go to ukcolumn.org

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