Arranging goods at the store before its opening, Source: D. Tukalski / Rybnik City

Rybnik opens a store for Ukrainian refugees

Rybnik opens a store for Ukrainian refugees

“Shelves of good” accepts only one currency: a “thank you”

Two weeks of war in Ukraine have already displaced millions fleeing their homes to safety abroad – most often, with just the clothes on their backs. Forced to start their lives almost anew, with no money or unable to exchange their savings for local currency, Ukrainian citizens have been showered with support and donations from residents of nearby cities.

And while this demonstration of solidarity is certainly impressive, one Polish city found a different way to support refugees and to preserve their dignity – by opening a special kind of store.

Donations need not make one feel ashamed

Last Friday, Rybnik announced that it is opening a store, dedicated to Ukrainian refugees, called „Półki dobra” (Полиці добра in Ukrainian), which translates to “Shelves of good”. It resembles an ordinary shop: goods are arranged on shelves for different departments (food, medication, etc.), while clothes are sorted or displayed on hangers or special tables. There are fitting rooms, mirrors, a counter, and staff, ready to help one make a choice.

The only difference is that the shop is meant as a material assistance point for Ukrainian refugees and accepts only the words “thank you” as payment. Of course, customers also have to certify that they have arrived from Ukraine in Poland after 24 February, when the Russian invasion started.

The goods at the store also come from donations by Polish residents, which quickly piled up since refugees started coming to the city. Some of the donations were sent to Ukraine, others were distributed to the newly arrived. A third batch was directed to the store that opened this past weekend.

The facility will operate as long as it is needed, authorities ensure, and it is supposed to facilitate the lives of refugees until they gain some stability. The additional benefit is that the staff are all Ukrainian women, who had been living in Rybnik before the war.

The store is located in the premises of the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows in Rybnik at 5 Franciszka Brudnioka Street, provided courtesy of the parish priest.



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