JustServe project sends relief to Pakistan flood victims

Church members and their neighbors around Mesa, Arizona, gather thousands of items in a JustServe project for Pakistan

Record monsoon rains in July and August 2022 devastated the country of Pakistan.  At one point, one-third of the country became submerged in water — affecting millions of people.

After hearing of the continued plight of flood victims, Mesa Arizona Kimball East Stake members and their neighbors worked with Helping Hand for Relief and Development to provide relief.

With the help of JustServe — a website and app where organizations can list their volunteer needs — the “Goal 500 Drive” was launched in November 2022. Kimball Stake Relief Society president Tava Udall said organizers aimed to collect 500 items of what was needed — socks, shoes, jackets, clothing, blankets and more.

By December, a shipping container was headed to Pakistan with thousands of the needed items on board.

“The momentum started, and each week it grew,” Udall said. “When you are doing something good for someone else, the Lord is leading and guiding you.”

Women from the Mesa Arizona Kimball East Stake, their neighbors and their friends at Helping Hand for Relief and Development show some of the blankets collected for Pakistan flood relief in Mesa, Arizona, on Nov. 20, 2022. | Tava Udall

Udall worked with stake JustServe specialist Gwen Matheny and Samia Hammad of Helping Hand. The project became an interfaith effort, involving the surrounding community and also gaining support from every organization in the stake — even the Primary wrote uplifting notes and drew pictures on the boxes.

“This showed how coming together for a common purpose can grow into a movement that inspired us in Mesa and that we could reach far across the world and help those who have lost everything,” Udall said. “JustServe is the vehicle we all need to participate in because it is the bridge that brings everyone together no matter who or where you are in life.” 

‘JustServe is where it’s at’

After Matheny served a mission, she wanted to know what to do — and the answer came to her to serve, Udall said. Matheny started quilting and making baby hats, looking through JustServe for where such items would be needed. That’s how Matheny got to know Haddad and knew the items could help in Pakistan. 

Matheny told Udall what was happening and they talked through how the stake could help. As word spread, “it was like the fuel and the fire and the energy just kept going,” Udall said. 

People crocheted baby hats, made blankets, purchased new items and gathered supplies for weeks. Volunteers of all ages — from older neighbors to missionaries to young children — sorted and organized everything to be ready to load the boxes on Nov. 20, 2022.

When Haddad arrived, Udall said, she was overwhelmed with gratitude.

“It was emotional for all of us to see how emotional she was for what we were doing for them,” Udall said. “The support and momentum of this little project will be one we will remember for a long time.”

JustServe volunteers load a box truck with shoes, clothing, blankets, hats and other items to be sent to Pakistan in Mesa, Arizona, Nov. 20, 2022. | Tava Udall

The volunteers packed 125 boxes onto a truck for Helping Hand, which then got everything to a ship to send to Pakistan.

Udall has heard since from Hammad about the smiles and appreciation from people who have been living in camps and were so grateful. 

In all the project collected:

  • 1,214 shirts, tops and sweaters.
  • 754 pairs of kids’ socks.
  • 711 pairs of adult socks.
  • 662 pants and skirts, 
  • 638 pairs of new underwear, 
  • 571 pairs of shoes,
  • 515 hats, 
  • 356 blankets,
  • 313 jackets, coats and sweatshirts,
  • 300 children’s sleeper pajamas,

Several hundred dollars in cash donations also came in and were used to purchase items as well.

“JustServe is where it’s at. This is a movement, and we are going to move mountains with this program,” Udall said.

Primary children in the Mesa Arizona Kimball East Stake draw pictures on boxes that were then packed with clothing, bedding and other items and sent to Pakistan for flood victims, in Mesa, Arizona, Nov. 20, 2022. | Tava Udall
An interfaith group of JustServe volunteers in Mesa, Arizona, packs thousands of items to send to Pakistan for flood victims, in Mesa, Arizona, on Nov. 20, 2022. | Tava Udall
Members of the Mesa Arizona Kimball East Stake and their neighbors celebrate after packing up thousands of items to send to Pakistan for flood victims, in Mesa, Arizona, on Nov. 20, 2022. | Tava Udall
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