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Idaho Interfaith Volunteers Send Winter Clothes, Supplies to Ukraine

Twin Falls residents help Type of Wood Charities with a three-day humanitarian drive through JustServe

A truck is loaded at the end of a three-day drive in Twin Falls, Idaho, on Wednesday, November 9, 2022. The aid was shipped to Poland to be driven into Ukraine. Photo courtesy of Rob Sturgill, courtesy of Church News.All rights reserved.

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By Mary Richards, Church News

A three-day humanitarian drive in Twin Falls, Idaho, gathered thousands of pounds of donated goods for the people of Ukraine. It also created new friendships and strengthened JustServe connections around the community.

Rob Sturgill of the Kimberly Idaho Stake runs a charity called Type of Wood, which previously has helped in Africa, the Philippines and Ukraine. He put out the call for donations for Ukraine in early November.

Some of the volunteers found out through the listing on JustServe.org, a website and app connecting people with volunteer opportunities. Others found out on social media or through word of mouth.

Sturgill said a few people just thought they would drop items off at the Canyon Crest Event Center and leave. But they ended up staying and helping package and organize donations.

“That was the atmosphere that was there,” Sturgill said. “When you came into the convention center and you saw what was going on — people dropping off and people happily helping to pack and sort and palletize and load — it was just a great environment. People wanted to stay and help.”

Rob Sturgill of the Kimberly Idaho Stake and Bill Ystueta from Chick-Fil-A in Twin Falls, Idaho, smile after a sleeping bag drive at the restaurant resulted in warm winter supplies for Ukraine. The supplies were packaged Monday through Wednesday, November 7–9, 2022. Photo courtesy of Rob Sturgill, courtesy of Church News.All rights reserved.

The contents included coats, blankets, sleeping bags, winter clothes, shoes, boots, diapers, baby formula, canned food, pasta, medical supplies, flashlights, batteries, candles and emergency blankets.

Volunteers came from different businesses and churches in the area. Families, youth, older residents and their neighbors participated in the drive.

The results:

  • More than 150 volunteers over three days
  • 645 tightly packed boxes on pallets loaded into a 60-foot semitrailer
  • 20,219 pounds of donated goods
  • At least $10,000 in cash to purchase items needed in Ukraine

Sturgill has been working with Grace Evangelical Church in Columbus, Ohio, to get the supplies shipped to Poland and then driven into Ukraine. They’ve been able to use the donated cash to buy fuel for vehicles in Europe and purchase food items that can be bought more economically in the area.

He has taken previous trips to Ukraine and was overwhelmed by the response to this humanitarian drive. He has seen how the Lord connected different faiths and different organizations to help facilitate the work — and now he has dozens more friends he didn’t know before in the community.

“I’ve never felt so close to the Savior. I’ve never seen so many miracles in my life concentrated in such a short period of time,” Sturgill said. “The Lord is involved in these situations.”

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