How do you select the cars?
We regularly communicate with the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Territorial Defence and other parties in need of vehicles. The needs change over time as some items become more relevant over time and some less. For example there is quite high demand for 4x4 vehicles, capable of driving off-road and fast, ideally pick-up trucks, however there also are needs for refrigerated trucks for unfortunate fallen heroes, mid-size trucks and other items. As these needs change over time we are constantly updating our "purchasing profile". As for donated cars, we try to ensure they will run well and not leave the people in need stranded, but more general criteria is applied here. Some simple vehicles can be useful for transporting volunteers, helping drive to the checkpoints and other daily tasks where 4x4 capacity might not be needed.
Can I donate so you deliver the car to the military unit of my choice?
We are not fulfilling “specific orders” for cars, as where somebody would be willing to give money so we would buy a car for their unit. However if you donate your car or buy one for specific unit, we quite often help with the delivery and try to ensure the vehicle reaches its destination via our vast network of friends and partners inside Ukraine.
Do you also use contributions for other types of charity?
There are some additional charities we have supported (e.g. creating tourniquets, sewing stretchers), but these activities are not common and usually performed by volunteers at no profit and at very low volumes (so far in these cases the funds have been specifically donated and we have helped with military grade handheld radios, stretchers and some other medical or support items, but at very low volumes. We try to keep our actions laser focused as this has proven to be the most efficient
Who receive the vehicles? How can I ensure the money and vehicles ar received by those who actually need it and not sold/used for personal benefit?
We are very strict about the vehicles being sent to Ukrainian military and following a strict process with formal requests from military unit and ensuring the car is actually received by the unit. Additionally we have established a network of trusted receivers and are supported in enforcing control over potentially "lost" vehicles on Ukrain side which helps us ensure every vehicle actually reaches its destination.
What does constitute the cost of the car?
The total cost of the car is comprised of multiple parts: value of the vehicle, cost of the repairs (while the labor is mostly done by volunteers from Ukraine, there are costs about renting a space and tools in workshops as well as parts (we have part suppliers who often (but not always) donate the parts or give them at very low cost), cost of transportation (fuel costs, insurance costs, registration costs)
Can I become a driver from any location?
Yes you can, but you have to understand our technical base is in Riga and you would either have to be there, or you could fulfill one of our "special missions" where we sometimes drive the cars we have received from other parts of Europe (so far it has been Nordics, Germany, UK and we have even had cars delivered from US and Canada (though they were brought in by a ship and then driven to Ukraine from the port). If you want to establish a local partner workshop, this can be done, but please get in touch with us, as we have quite specific pre-requisites as to what is needed on both capacity in finding and evaluating cars, as well as in capacity of preparation of vehicles before delivery.
How often do you drive to Ukraine and how long does it take?
We drive from our HQ near Riga, Latvia at least twice a week. Mostly these are Tuesday and Friday evenings and we drive overnight. The main reason for this is less road traffic in Poland, less strain on the vehicles and tested arrival time on the border.
What should I take with me when driving?
There is a list prepared by drivers from previous convoys. Passport is the most important thing, as you would be leaving safety of EU to enter Ukraine (however for most cases for no more than 100m in).However there is a list of items prepared by other drivers and includes following items:
- Payment card or cash. Take into account Poland uses Zloty and Ukraine has Grivna, paying with card is available almost everywhere and is easier
- Mobile phone, including charger for car or powerbank (charged). Ideally a phone holder for car so you can use Waze or Google Maps is ideal.
- Glasses (sunglasses if your sight is OK) if you need them for driving and reading glasses as well
- Two sets of shoes or one additional set of slippers, also including a fresh pair of socks. Remember you will be driving back in a minivan/bus with a number of co-drivers
- Neck pillow to sleep better in a cramped space on a way back
- Comfortable clothing which ideally is not military like and breathes/ventialtes well
- A jacket, ideally with some windstopping (especially when it is rainy/windy)
- Things you need for personal hygiene
- Around 1.5L of water should be sufficient, but you can take more
- Whatever keeps you up during night drive - for some it is water, some need coffee or tee, some want energy drinks or nut bars. Remember that overeating will make you sleepy
- Any medicine you are regularly using
- A pair of work gloves in case something needs repairing, getting under the vehicle or doing some other things which might make your hands dirty
- A backpack
Do drivers get remunerated?
No, driving is voluntary. We cover the costs of fuel on the road, however driver's pay for their own food and other similar expenses. Driving is not paid in any way.
Do we enter Ukraine, how far do we drive?
For most cases we will cross the border into Ukraine (that is why you need the passport), however we usually don't go deeper than few hundred meters. Sometimes there are requirements to deliver cars to other cities/towns, but these are specifically pre-arranged. Sometimes a group decides on its own to drive to Lviv, just to see how the life goes on and what has changed or to bring passengers or other goods closer to their destionations.