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Winter clothes, supplies on the way to Ukraine from Idaho interfaith effort

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

A three-day humanitarian drive in Twin Falls, Idaho, gathered thousands of pounds of donated goods for the people of Ukraine. And 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 has helped in Africa, the Philippines and Ukraine in the past. 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 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 Nov. 7-9, 2022. | Provided by Rob Sturgill

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.

People came from different businesses and churches in the area. Families, youth, older residents and their neighbors volunteered.

The results:

  • More than 150 volunteers over three days.
  • 645 tightly packed boxes on pallets loaded into a 60-foot semi truck.
  • 20,219 total weight 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 buy other food items more economically in the area.

He has taken previous trips to Ukraine, and he 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 of 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.”

Related Story
What the Church is doing to help in Eastern Europe
Elder Cook addresses Ukrainian Latter-day Saints: ‘We are aware of the incredible challenges you are facing’
Latter-day Saint Ukrainian refugees find rest in Christ, kindness of others
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