City McDonald's boss joins 21 van convey to Europe in Ukraine mercy dash

Kevin Foley, a McDonald's franchisee, has taken 21 vans full of supplies to refugees affected by the Russian war with Ukraine

Kevin Foley, a McDonald's franchisee, has taken 21 vans full of supplies to refugees affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. - Credit: Kevin Foley

A fast food boss said watching the Ukraine crisis unfold as he sat among his family prompted him into taking action himself.

Kevin Foley, who owns a number of McDonald's restaurants around Norfolk - including Norwich - has taken the 3,700-mile round trip to the border of the war-torn country with essential items.

Kevin Foley and some of the team who helped pack and deliver supplies for Ukrainian refugees.

Kevin Foley and some of the team who helped pack and deliver supplies for Ukrainian refugees. - Credit: Kevin Foley

Mr Foley said: "Like everyone I was appalled at what was going on in Ukraine.

"The catalyst for me though was when I was watching everything unfold on the television with my family.

Some of the 21 total vans which were used to deliver supplies to Ukrainian refugees at the Romanian border of Halmeu.

Some of the 21 total vans which were used to deliver supplies to Ukrainian refugees at the Romanian border of Halmeu. - Credit: Kevin Foley

"We were watching families getting split up and seeing fathers hugging their children before they had to leave them.

"My eldest son, who is 18, said: 'If we lived in Ukraine we'd have to go and fight and leave everyone'. That's when it dawned on me - how would I feel?

"I knew I had to do something."

Kevin Foley said: ""I couldn't just sit back and watch - I needed to do something."

Kevin Foley said: ""I couldn't just sit back and watch - I needed to do something." - Credit: Kevin Foley

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The 54-year-old entrepreneur rolled up his sleeves and got to work, contacting other business owners in his network to organise transport and the collection of items.

Mr Foley explained: "I spoke to Simon Feneron, whose family owns the Banningham Crown pub, because he had already done one run over to Poland.

Some of the supplies, which were donated to Kevin Foley, to deliver to Ukrainian refugees.

Some of the supplies, which were donated to Kevin Foley, to deliver to Ukrainian refugees. - Credit: Kevin Foley

"He sorted out all the logistics for the trip and I set up a wish list on Amazon for people to see what supplies were needed - sleeping bags, trauma kits, medical supplies and so on.

"I immediately started to get 15 to 20 deliveries a day."

By the time Mr Foley, Mr Feneron, and the rest of the team were ready to depart on April 10 they had 21 vans full of supplies.

Six of the vans went to the Romanian border at Halmeu, while others went to various locations including Poland and Berlin where the items were then taken to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

Speaking on his way home at the weekend, Mr Foley is already planning what he will do next. 

He said: "Once we get back we're having a meeting about our next steps.

Kevin Foley, and the rest of the team, travelled to the Romanian border of Halmeu to drop off the supplies.

Kevin Foley, and the rest of the team, travelled to the Romanian border of Halmeu to drop off the supplies. - Credit: Kevin Foley

"I couldn't just sit back and watch. I needed to do something.

"The distance we've travelled is nothing compared to what some Ukrainian families are going through."

Kevin Foley, a McDonald's franchisee, is already planning his next trip to help Ukrainian refugees.

Kevin Foley, a McDonald's franchisee, is already planning his next trip to help Ukrainian refugees. - Credit: Kevin Foley