Hotel opens to 70 Ukrainian families as local community steps up to help – The First News
A hotel that opened to a family fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine has now hosted more than 70 refugees, including 40 children, with the help of local residents and a philanthropic businessman.
The Spichlerz Hotel in the picturesque town of Kazimierz Dolny announced its decision to offer free accommodation to a family on its Facebook page on February 26, two days after the Russian invasion.
But just an hour later, the hotel received a call from a local business whose owner wanted to pay for accommodation for 46 people.
Mobilizing all of its staff and launching a collection of donations of the most necessary hygiene and food products, the hotel staff has devoted all its time to providing for the needs of the mothers and children under their roof, even organizing an animation workshop for children.
The hotel staff were supported in their initiative by volunteers and locals, individuals and businesses, who donated food and other goods to the hotel and provided language assistance and medical advice.
Łukasz Wozniak from the Spichlerz Hotel board told TFN: “We were one of the first places in Kazimierz Dolny to offer help to families fleeing from Ukraine and other places, then we also started offering help.
“People are constantly calling us with offers of help and donations and we share these donations with other places in Kazimierz Dolny and pass them on as needed.”
Posting regularly on the hotel’s Facebook to thank all those who helped them, a message read: “Thank you very much for the help given by the companies, the individual benefactors, Everyone.
“Thanks to you, we can bear the burden of the stay of Ukrainian refugees in our hotel. Thank you for your financial, spiritual and psychological support for Ukraine and for us.
One of those supporting the hotel is a philanthropic business owner who has teamed up with his colleagues to fund the booking of a large number of rooms at the Spichlerz Hotel for two months.
Speaking to a local newspaper, the philanthropist who wishes to remain anonymous said his identity was “inconsequential”, adding: Everyone is doing what they can, it’s just one way we could help.
He added that he had not ruled out the possibility of booking more hotels.
He said: “We approach it methodically, not spontaneously. First, we want to provide security and accommodation, later it will be time for help and psychological support and maybe help in finding work. In the long term, these people need the possibility of a normal life.
“Hotels have agreed to forgo profits, so we’re just paying them what we need so they don’t have to worry about costs, so they can shop, so they can keep the heating on and treat these people like normal hotel guests.
A local ceramic artist, Olga Suvorova, who lives in the town and is originally from Ukraine, also volunteered her time to visit the refugees at Hotel Spichlerz to offer her services as a Ukrainian speaker and help overcome the language barrier.
Some of the refugees only stay a few nights before moving on to more permanent accommodation.
New people are arriving to take their place, with coordinators and volunteers working around the clock to help meet the needs of all refugees, including help with practicalities like medical prescriptions.