At Rapid Retail, we’re proud to support good causes and to give something back to those less fortunate than ourselves. Which is why we have been so inspired by the personal endeavours of one of our team members, Tomasz Kolak. Here is his story.
Tomasz, age 30, joined Rapid Retail in May 2017. As part of the maintenance and delivery team, he helps ensure products are safely delivered and installed for customers based across the UK and Europe.
Originally from Poland, Tomasz was concerned by the extreme poverty affecting families in the neighbouring country of Ukraine. With nearly 60% of the population living below the poverty line, Ukraine is ranked as the second-poorest country in Europe.
Tomasz commented: “Many people in Ukraine have nothing and when I met a Father from a small village church and heard how bad things had got, I really wanted to help them.”
Tomasz decided he wanted to do something – no matter how small – that might make a difference to those in need. So he set about enlisting the support of friends, family and colleagues and started collecting items that could bring struggling families some small comfort.
“My family, colleagues, friends and even friends of friends, were all fantastic,” explained Tomasz. “They really got completely behind me, donating items themselves and encouraging others they knew to do the same. It was amazing.”
The pile of donations quickly grew, with everything from long life food and drink items, to sweets, toys and presents, being handed over.
Then on 28 December 2017, Tomasz, his girlfriend, brother and two others, hit the road in a large van filled with the precious cargo. They embarked on a 3,400-mile round trip, from Worcestershire to the village of Susidovychi, in the Lviv region of western Ukraine.
Despite a total journey time of 35 hours, including a frustrating 10-hour delay at the Polish border, the crew were in high spirits when they finally arrived at their destination. They unloaded the donations at the Monastery of the Carmelite Fathers, ready for the church to distributed to local families.
Tomasz added: “The journey didn’t go completely to plan and driving that far and for that long is tough. But we took shifts at the wheel and thinking about the purpose of our trip and what we were doing it for, kept us going.
“It was a relief to finally arrive and while we were there, we saw some of the children receive their gifts. The reaction they had was truly humbling. Many of them were cry with gratitude. It is a day I will remember for the rest of my life.”
Tomasz’s next trip
It’s not the first time Tomasz has made a trip of this nature. In summer 2017, he delivered items to an orphanage in Poland. He is now planning his next charity mission, for winter 2018.