Guests on Holland America Line cruise ships around the world have been busy literally taking steps to help displaced Ukrainian civilians who have lost their homes, businesses and livelihoods due to the ongoing war with Russia.
For the past 10 months, the line has coordinated on each voyage a fundraising effort whereby travellers could donate US$25 to participate in a 5K walk around the decks during a day at sea.
In this time, thousands of travellers have taken part, amid backdrops ranging from Australia to the Panama Canal, Alaska and the Mediterranean, among others.
This week at the Port of San Diego, Holland America Line presented a cheque for US$450,000 to Direct Relief – a Californian charity that works with all U.S. states, territories and more than 90 countries around the world to provide medicine, healthcare and resources to doctors, nurses and patients in underprivileged areas, such as those affected by war, famine and other events.
The donation coincided with a pledge of US$3 million from the family foundation of Carnival Corporation Chairman, Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine.
Direct Relief has already provided more than 1,000 tonnes of medical equipment requested by the Ukrainian Health Ministry, which has seen many hospitals and medical centres destroyed across the war-torn nation.
Holland America Line President, Gus Antorcha, said he knew his guests were generous but their support smashed all expectations.
“Our guests and team members, who love to explore the world, wanted to do something to make a meaningful difference for families in a part of the world that desperately needs humanitarian aid,” Antorcha said.
“We’re grateful to Holland America Line and its guests for this tremendous fundraising effort in which people took time during their vacations to make a difference,” said Direct Relief President and CEO, Thomas Tighe.
“Their support will further help us in providing lifesaving medications to Ukraine, ranging from cancer therapies to treatments for chronic health conditions.”
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