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  • Writer's pictureRachel Holly

'Tis the Season for Giving Back: AvantGarde’s Funding for Vehicles of Light

It’s been more than eight months since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, creating a devastating reality for the people who live there. In much of the country, Ukrainians must choose between enduring the constant threat of Russian artillery, or risk traveling through Russian-controlled territory in order to evacuate and leaving behind the only home they have ever known. This has resulted in Europe’s largest refugee crisis since WWII, with over 7.7 million Ukrainians fleeing their homeland and another estimated 8 million displaced within Ukraine.

To aid the Ukrainian people during this heartbreaking time, AvantGarde has funded an evacuee van arranged by the grass roots organization Vehicles of Light. This initiative is helping save lives, transporting elderly, ill, and injured civilians from Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, and its second largest city, Kharkiv. These cities have suffered horrific damage from Russian bombing, causing many to seek transportation out into Western Ukraine or out of the country. The train lines, however, are overwhelmed by the crisis and frequently experience bottlenecks and service suspensions while civilians stay out on the train platforms in the freezing cold for days, waiting for their opportunity to flee. Large capacity vehicles such as the van AvantGarde contributed often provide the best chance of escape and survival. So far, due to AvantGarde’s key funding support, our partner in Ukraine Vehicles of Light has transported over 500 civilians out of the war zone.

“Funding this van and the transportation is a small but incredibly powerful way we can help save lives from this conflict,” said Greg Portnoy, Vice President and Co-Owner of AvantGarde (and Ukrainian-born immigrant). “For many, including the elderly and the sick, there is no other way to escape the attack on their homes. I’m glad AG can contribute by helping so many people get to safety.”

Tragically, the van that AvantGarde funded was recently destroyed by missiles, killing all on board, during a Russian military attack on the civilian convoy the van was a part of in the Zaporigie region. AvantGarde is in the process of funding a new van, committed to supporting Vehicles of Light and those who volunteer to risk their lives to ensure the safety of hundreds of Ukrainian civilians.

“We stand with the people of Ukraine,” said Greg, “and as long as Ukrainian civilians are under attack and need help to travel to safety, we will continue to support them and send aid.”

Click here more to learn about AG's support of the Ukrainian refugees.

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