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West Coast businesses step up to help Ukraine

“Our hearts go out to the Ukrainian people and their suffering”
Jens and Nelly Heyduck, owners and designers at Ahoy Bags, wave special edition sailcloth bags created to show solidarity with Ukraine. (Submitted photo)

Owners of Ucluelet-based Ahoy Bags Jens and Nelly Heyduck have created eight, limited edition bags to show solidarity with Ukraine. The special bags are made from upcycled blue Dacron sailcloth and yellow marine grade umbrella fabric – to reflect unity with the national flag of Ukraine.

All of the proceeds will go directly to the humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine.

“It’s rare that we get our hands on a coloured piece of fabric. It’s the second time that we get a coloured Dacron sail. We held this bag for a special occasion and then this happened so it was just the perfect match, the natural thing to do,” said Jens, noting that the linen white handles are coloured coated for peace.

“On a personal level, it’s just a huge inspiration how brave the people of Ukraine are and how they stand up for their country and each other. I think in (President) Zelensky they have found an absolute role model of a politician as a leader. This is how a leader of a free country should be, putting his people first and his personal interested second,” he said.

The Heyduck’s, who are originally from Germany and immigrated to Canada in 2009, say it’s really upsetting to see war happening in Europe again.

“After the civil war in Bosnia in the 1990’s, I thought we were done with this. It’s absolutely mind-boggling how this still can happen,” said Jens.

“Russian invaded Ukraine on complete illegitimate grounds and it is an absolute tragedy that something like this is happening in Europe. It is a war also against Europe as well as it is a war against the democracy that Ukraine worked for really hard and suffered a lot to gain this independence from Russia. It is absolutely tragic to see something like this happening,” Jens told the Westerly.

Nelly talked about the millions of Ukrainians that have been displaced as a direct result of Russia’s invasion.

“How does it feel to be running away from your own country? To become homeless? They left everything back there. Sometimes people are not aware how it feels. You have to flee your own country because you are not safe anymore. People are traumatized. The ones who flee already who are in Poland or Germany; It’s amazing to see people coming together in Europe and driving to the borders and trying to help however they can,” she said.

Founders of Ucluelet-based Mint Cleaning Monika Scott and Robyn Pook also stepped up in a big way to show their solidarity for Ukraine. On Feb. 26, Mint Cleaning donated 100 per cent of proceeds from one day of sales to the Canadian Red Cross. The federal government matched their donation of $5,522.86, so the final total amounted to $11,045.72.

The Heyduck’s went on to say that their blue and yellow bags are just a tiny token of appreciation for the struggles Ukrainians are facing and that this war should not be tolerated.

“Our hearts go out to the Ukrainian people and their suffering,” they said. “We only got a small piece of sail. If someone else has a blue Dacron sail out there we are happy to do another run.”

Visit the Ahoy bags website for more details on how to purchase the limited edition blue and yellow bags.

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Nora O'Malley

About the Author: Nora O'Malley

Nora O'Malley studied journalism at Mount Royal University in Calgary.
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