As large numbers of people fleeing the war in Ukraine continue to arrive in Waterford, a team of volunteers from Sanofi, the global healthcare company that employs 800 people in the city, has assembled and packed more than €12,000 worth of direct aid to be distributed locally.

Funded through Sanofi’s CSR programme and boosted by donations from the site team, hundreds of personal care packs; schoolbags filled with classroom essentials for various age groups and a range of new clothing is being shared out among those staying temporarily in local hotels, sports centres and other emergency accommodation.

The coordinating team has worked with Waterford City & County Council and Waterford Area Partnership to ensure they help meet real need locally. Their counterparts from neighbours Cartamundi also joined the effort - donating more than 200 board games to help entertain and occupy some of the younger new arrivals.

The various packs were accompanied by a bilingual gift card in English and Ukrainian that read:

Welcome to Waterford

While the circumstances of you being here could hardly be much worse, we (a team of volunteers who work together at Sanofi, a global healthcare company) very warmly welcome you to Waterford – Ireland’s oldest city.

Our country has a long and proud tradition of providing Céad Mile Fáilte (100,000 Welcomes) to newcomers to our shores.

Our people through the generations have also emigrated to countries right across the world – often leaving in very troubled times here.

Like our Irish diaspora, you too are now many miles from home but please know that you are not alone. We support you and hope that your time with us in Waterford is as good as possible given the awful context that has brought you here.

Please accept these items as a practical token of our support – we hope you find them useful.

Take care.