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Latest refugee efforts in Europe: Shoes in Netherlands, suture kits in Switzerland, welcome bags in the United Kingdom


Donated shoes in the Netherlands. Suture sets and medical kits from Switzerland. And welcome bags crafted in the United Kingdom.

That and more are among the latest efforts of good works by members and congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout Europe to help with the Ukrainian refugee crisis.

In an April 9 letter announcing additional refugee assistance, the Church’s Europe Area Emergency Response Council expressed gratitude for the “tremendous outreach and support” offered to “our brothers and sisters from Ukraine in their dire circumstances.”

The letter continued: “The willingness to help those in need reflects the true love of Christ.”

The Church has authorized special funds to be used locally by each stake across the Europe North and Europe Central areas for support of Ukrainian refugees.

Below are accounts highlighted by the Church’s U.K. Newsroom on April 21 of Latter-day Saint efforts in the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Shoes donated by Church members and friends in Zoetermeer, Netherlands, in April 2022 are ready for selection by Ukrainian refugees arriving there.

Shoes donated by Church members and friends in Zoetermeer, Netherlands, in April 2022 are ready for selection by Ukrainian refugees arriving there.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Netherlands: Shoes and more

Following the first reports in late February and early March of refugees headed to the Netherlands, the council of churches in Zoetermeer created a core organization to aid and house those refugees arriving to that city.

Soon realizing that Ukrainian refugees would arrive with footwear that wouldn’t weather well the colder Dutch climate, the team initiated a shoe campaign.

Donated items bound for Ukraine are collected and bagged by Church members and friends in the Netherlands in April 2022.

Donated items bound for Ukraine are collected and bagged by Church members and friends in the Netherlands in April 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Michael Vis, a Latter-day Saint who is a member of the Zoetermeer church council, used JustServe as a network to see donations of  new and nearly new shoes, with Church members also contacting friends and neighbors to help.

More than 350 pairs of shoes were donated, sorted, cleaned and brushed as needed, then filled five cars to be transported to De Pelgrim, an activity center and refugee gathering place. There volunteers from various churches assembled and stocked shoe racks, with the entire project activated and realized within one week.

Read more: What the Church is doing to help in Eastern Europe

“Not only were the refugees helped with something they really needed, but the quality of the donated shoes and the speed of execution of the plan was such that it impressed many people,” Vis said. “They now saw us as a group of individuals who can quickly work with us in the community. It opened doors for further future cooperation.”

Donated goods gathered by Church members and friends in the Netherlands are ready to be transported to Ukraine in April 2022.

Donated goods gathered by Church members and friends in the Netherlands are ready to be transported to Ukraine in April 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Elsewhere in the Netherlands, in Nessdwaard, Hellevoetsluis, Voorne Putten and Spijkenisse, members of the Church and friends donated items to one of the country’s largest Ukrainian foundations. They contacted supermarkets and wholesalers and individuals for items to donate, with one widow donating her late husband’s belongings, knowing they were going to a good cause.

The collected goods were then transported to people in Ukraine.

Angelika Müller, a local ward Relief Society president, said: “There was no difference among us. We were all one, united with each other in the service of our neighbors.”

Jurgen Reimer, a member of the Apeldoorn Netherlands Stake, helped meet refugee medical needs by donating 10,000 infusion sets, 100 transfusion sets and 80 infusion pumps.

Wound suture kits delivered by the Zurich Switzerland Stake to the Kyiv Ukraine Stake in April 2022.

Wound suture kits delivered by the Zurich Switzerland Stake to the Kyiv Ukraine Stake in April 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Switzerland: Supplies to Ukraine

Members of the Zurich Switzerland Stake delivered 100 wound-suture sets, 500 kilograms (more than 1,100 pounds) of canned food and 10 boxes of other goods to the Kyiv Ukraine Stake. The Zurich stake also delivered medical supplies — syringes and cannulas — for hospitals in Kyiv and Dymer, Ukraine.

The Zurich Stake also is working closely with the Kyiv and Vienna Austria stakes to organize donations to meet local needs. The Church meetinghouse in Freiburg, Switzerland, is serving as a collection point and welcome center for refugees, and Ukrainian mothers and their children come by almost daily to interact and gather whatever they need.

“We are deeply touched by the generous donations,” said Irene and Joerg Moeller-Russo of the Zurich Stake. “Members are opening their homes and hearts, and we feel how horizons are widened. This is an opportunity to unite and refocus on loving others.”

Women of the Chelmsford 1st and 2nd wards in the Ipswich England Stake gather in April 2022 to sew welcome packs for Ukrainian refugees.

Women of the Chelmsford 1st and 2nd wards in the Ipswich England Stake gather in April 2022 to sew welcome packs for Ukrainian refugees.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

One of the children’s welcome packs made by Relief Society sisters in the Ipswich England Stake for Ukrainian refugees in April 2022.

One of the children’s welcome packs made by Relief Society sisters in the Ipswich England Stake for Ukrainian refugees in April 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

United Kingdom: Welcome bags

More than 20 sisters in the Chelmsford 1st and 2nd wards of the Ipswich England Stake joined with members of the local parish council to make welcome packs for Ukrainian refugees arriving in their community.

The women donated the materials and sewed the bags, with the council then filling them with toiletries, medical supplies, teddy bears, coloring books and new clothing for children.

More than 100 bags were quickly completed and ready for delivery.

Donna Hance, the local events and funding manager, said: “The bags will bring some comfort to families who in such difficult times may feel that asking for such items will be a burden.”

Read more: Latter-day Saint Ukrainian refugees find rest in Christ, kindness of others

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