Menu
In the News

See how rolling suitcases, border meals, painted furniture and maternity wards provided by European Saints are helping Ukrainian refugees


From rolling suitcases to hot meals, and from painting furniture to creating a maternity center, refugee relief efforts throughout Europe by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members continue to aid displaced Ukrainians.

Many are busy serving others throughout Europe, noted the most recent report published on the Church’s United Kingdom’s Newsroom page. “This selfless effort is often rewarded by strong feelings of humility, purpose and satisfaction,” the report said. “In this way, both the served and those who serve are blessed.”

Below are some of the recent highlights:

Relief Society sisters paint furniture at Caritas homeless refugee center in Friedrichsdorf and Frankfurt, Germany.

Relief Society sisters paint furniture at Caritas homeless refugee center in Friedrichsdorf and Frankfurt, Germany.

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

Germany

Twenty sisters from wards in Frankfurt and Friedrichsdorf, Germany, helped Ukrainian refugees celebrate on March 19 the 180th anniversary of the Church’s Relief Society.

Using the community service platform JustServe, they gathered to paint furniture at a Caritas homeless refugee center in Frankfurt.

They were joined in the project by a Ukrainian mother and her family, who had been on vacation in the Dominican Republic when the armed conflict in their home country began. They became marooned without documents and with only vacation clothing, ending up at the Frankfurt shelter.

“She was deeply moved as she helped volunteers, who shared her plight, paint unused furniture,” the report said. “Together they painted the furniture in cheerful colors and designs, and it is used now for outdoor seating by guests of the center.”

Moldova

Hot meals being delivered to refugees at the Moldova border by members of the Church.

Hot meals being delivered to refugees at the Moldova border by members of the Church.

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

The Church is cooperating with other religious organizations in Moldova to provide food for refugees there.

Moldova Christian Aid Society, which is offering hot meals at three border crossings between Ukraine and Moldova, reached out to other religious groups in helping with displaced refugees.

Volunteers from across the country prepare hot meals — consisting of meat, potatoes, rice and vegetables — in the early morning, which then are taken to the border crossings by noon. Water, fruit and bread are also provided by volunteers.

Families crossing on foot find hot meals waiting for them, with the border guards even getting involved and helping deliver meals to refugees while vehicles are waiting in lines to cross the border.

Poland

Rolling suitcases provided by volunteers in Poland are considered by refugees arriving in Poland as a godsend.

Hundreds of suitcases were delivered by members of the Church to refugees arriving in Poland.

Hundreds of suitcases were delivered by members of the Church to refugees arriving in Poland.

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

“People are arriving in Krakow, Poland, after three or four days on the road,” said Sister Christina Foote, who with her husband, Elder David Foote, is a full-time volunteer for the Church in Poland. “They’re mostly mothers with young children, often with grandparents, wearing of travel and carrying belongings in shopping bags or heavy rucksacks.”

The Newsroom report quoted one refugee mother: “My children, my parents and I have been traveling for days, each with two rucksacks. So when the missionaries offered me rolling suitcases, a tear came to my eye. I knew I was safe.”

Said Elder Foote: “Usually, we come into the train station with four suitcases per team member, so up to 20 at a time. We then search around the station looking for people who need them — they are all dispersed in less than 10 minutes. Then we go back for more suitcases — one day we gave away at least 60.”

Added Sister Foote: “This work is exhausting, physically and emotionally. But when we tell them that people all over the world are praying for them, you can see the light come into their eyes with renewed hope. We can see we have lightened someone else’s burden, and perhaps even helped answer a prayer. It is all so worthwhile.”

France

After fleeing the violence in Ukraine and having dealt with transport delays, heavy backpacks and prolonged waiting at the border, Maryna and her two young children found a fresh start in Mulhouse, France, after a long train ride west.

Latter-day Saints in Mulhouse provided Maryna and her family with food, lodging, clothing and friendship.

Also, Christophe Mortier, a local Church leader, worked with relief agency APPUIS to secure new French documents for the family is one week’s time. The documents provide for the next three years the right to protection by the state, medical and financial support and the opportunity to work. The children were also enrolled in school in Mulhouse.

Slovakia

Latter-day Saints in Slovakia are helping refugees crossing the border in the eastern part of that country, providing new arrivals with short- or long-term accommodations, helping with transport, and offering food and basic necessities.

They are also assisting refugees with legal matters, general orientation and resources.

Slovak Church members welcome refugees as brothers and sisters to Sunday worship meetings and other activities, and the Church has been active in numerous humanitarian projects in cooperation with other organizations.

An interfaith effort provides a maternity center for Ukrainian mothers and children in the Czech Republic

An interfaith effort provides a maternity center for Ukrainian mothers and children in the Czech Republic

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

Czech Republic

In Liberec, Czech Republic, Latter-day Saints have been active in multiple projects offering simultaneous help to member refugee families arriving in the city.

Some offer housing, others have converted the little-used upper floor space of their rented meetinghouse building for occupancy.

In another project, local members have joined with others from Greek, Catholic and evangelical churches to launch a maternity center and nursery for Ukrainian mothers and children.

“The program and daily care for the children are provided by Ukrainian members of our congregation.” said Bohdana Hanzalová, a Czech member from Liberec. “Here, mothers of all faiths will also be able to handle administrative tasks, make friends with the other mothers, or search for employment.”

Looking to help?

A summary page on ChurchofJesusChrist.org provides recent updates of how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members are actively involved in relief efforts for refugees in Europe.

For those looking to help, the Church’s model for identifying needs and providing assistance is based on decades of experience during natural disasters, refugee crises and other humanitarian needs. Visit this link to donate to the Church’s humanitarian aid efforts.

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

Newsletters
Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed