Sunflower Update: Early Days

Hey all! Lots of good news in the last few days.

  • We have an apartment now in Warsaw! Two bedroom and a couch in the living room, so as we grow we can stuff all of us in. Kevin Raison is in there now, and I’ll be going to Poland in a week or so, and it is nice to have a place to sleep. Was kinda sweating that.
  • Kevin delivered our first load of relief aid directly to Ukrainian border. (See photos) Hooked up with an animal charity over there. The supplies were subcutaneous chips for pets, going to a vet clinic in Lviv doing free work for refugees. These chips help in surprising ways. Of course, they help people who might lose their pets. But also, there are many refugees traveling with their dogs and cats, and pets are not allowed into the EU countries until they have been chipped. So people are trapped in Lviv, unless they want to leave their pets behind. These thousand chips will directly help a thousand animal refugees and the families that love them.
  • Our draft website is being built! So much goes into websites. Well, a lot of you are familiar. But we should have something up rather sooner than later.
  • We have an official mailing address now in Seattle for the organization. One more brick in building an official nonprofit. We should soon have official phone accounts so we can move on from our personal lines.
  • We have our first online fundraiser up and live! Please, you know.
  • We are making good contacts daily with great people, and networking with other great projects and organizations. Likely some cool announcements in that area coming soon.
  • We are continuing to source MRE’s for delivery to Ukraine.

The news from Ukraine is awful. It has been 48 hours now that up to a thousand people, (all civilans seeking shelter) have been trapped alive under the rubble of the theater in Mariupol that the Russians shelled. And rescuers can’t get to them because the Russians are still shelling the area. It’s maddening. The response should be global, on the scale of when those Thai boy scouts were trapped in a cave. Yet there is little news of it.

The only way to fight this kind of tragedy, and to fight the despair it brings, is, well, by fighting it.
Many hands pushing on the rock.

This is a Dunkirk moment in our lives.
The question of “How many boats should set out to provide relief?” has a simple answer.
All the boats.
Every damn boat.
Cruise liners to skiffs, if it floats get it moving.
We’re a little boat now, but we are already putting out to sea and moving.

Thank you all!

Sunflower Update: First Update

(Official Announcement!!!!)

The Sunflower Project:

Emergency Relief for Ukraine

Rick Wilson (me) and Kevin Tzaddi Raison are partnering to create an NGO that will obtain and deliver emergency aid to the people of Ukraine. Focus to begin with is on medical supplies and other non-lethal aid, like body armor for medics.

It’s time for Americans from our communities to get in this thing in a meaningful way.

Project is about ways that Americans can help Ukrainians. And about the things that a small, nimble, guerilla aid group can get done that the large institutional charities cannot do or are failing to get done.

Kevin is setting things up in Europe, and I am building the organization in the States for now, and will join him in Europe soon.

We both have contacts in Ukraine and Poland that we are working with, and are getting more every day. Details of operations will come in next couple weeks.

Will need tons of help, volunteers, and cash donations. Already working with some early key staff, will be reaching out to more. If we are sometimes slow in getting back, know that we are working 20 hour days trying to build this organization from ground up. (I will let everyone know how to donate in a week or so when we have that system set up.)

The plan is simple in concept;

  1. Collect donations and volunteer help in USA. (We are prioritizing cash donations, but will be sourcing some hard to find items stateside.)
  2. Collect aid supplies at our base near Ukraine.
  3. Load aid into vans and trucks, deliver aid to Ukraine. (Kevin is purchasing a vehicle in the next couple days.)
  4. Widely publicize us doing the things above, and also the situation on the ground. Leverage this publicity and media and social media engagement to get more donations and volunteers.
  5. Repeat.

The plan is simple. The details are a bit overwhelming.

I will be back in Seattle in a couple weeks or so, and am going to be having meetings with those who want to join the project.

Also, am going to try to set up a fund-raising party or show. Will need help with that. Short notice, but things are moving fast.

Also also, we are setting up legal status, banking, social media, a website, key staff, a shipping system, a European home base (almost certainly in Poland), and so, so many more details.

Ok. More info will follow over next few weeks.

Thank you all!