Pottstown, 12 Other Congregations Join in Ukraine Relief

Church members and friends in Pottstown (at top) were among those meeting needs in Ukraine

POTTSTOWN PA – More than 420 boxes bearing a total of 9,000 pounds of personal necessities, non-perishable foods, infant items, bedding, and medical supplies are on their way this week to Ukrainian residents and refugees. It’s the faith-filled result of efforts by 13 regional congregations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, including members from its Maugers Mill Road meetinghouse.

Pottstown, 12 Other Congregations Join in Ukraine Relief
Members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Whitehall are shown with packed boxes headed off to Poland for its Ukraine Relief Effort. Sarah Stapley (far left) helped organize the effort. Emma Stapley (far right) recently returned home after serving a church mission in eastern Ukraine

Dozens of church volunteers locally and in Reading, Whitehall, Exeter, and Leighton began coordinating the relief effort only days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. They’ve had less than two weeks, a church communications team reported, to collect, check, and sort donations; pack them securely for shipping, and move them to a warehouse in time for loading onto an air freighter bound for Poland.

All 13 congregations sent prospective donation lists to not only their members but also to social media outlets, inviting church members, friends, and community residents to donate needed goods. The poundage piled up, and most of its heavy lifting occurred Saturday (March 5, 2022) during marathon-like activities at the meetinghouses in Pottstown, Reading and Whitehall.

“When I dropped off my donations to the Whitehall meetinghouse, what I saw were busy, smiling, happy people, all doing the Lord’s work,” Peggy Shafer, the church’s local director of communications, said.

Pottstown member Anastasia Mead, a Ukrainian native, was able to connect with The Paul Chester Children’s Hope Foundation, which was taking aid to Poland and then across the Ukrainian border. It “gladly agreed to accept the donations,” according to a church e-mail, and ship them with its own medical supplies and humanitarian aid to Ukraine’s war-torn cities.

Like Mead, two others involved in the effort have their own ties to Ukraine. Reading congregation Bishop Hyrum Lefler previously served a church mission in Poland, and Emma Stapley of the Exeter congregation recently returned from a church mission to eastern Ukraine, the e-mail said.

Pottstown, 12 Other Congregations Join in Ukraine Relief
More than 420 boxes were transported to a warehouse, where they were placed on pallets and wrapped for the plane trip to Poland,

Other volunteers provided specialized help, it added. Handling local coordination were Lanae Duersch in Pottstown and Karen Redford in Reading. Brad Mead of Pottstown, Bishop Rob Fultz of Exeter, and President Jake Shuss of Lehighton worked to transport hundreds of boxes to the warehouse. Once there they were placed on pallets and wrapped in plastic to await the flight to Poland.

“It was an amazing effort and so many people contributed to its success,” according to Sarah Stapley, Emma’s mother. “The spirit of the Lord was with us, and so many expressed thanks for being able to serve our brothers and sisters in Ukraine.”

Photos supplied by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints