TWIN FALLS, Idaho — As refugees continue fleeing Ukraine and entering Poland, many need places to go and ways to get there. A Magic Valley man and his group of friends are doing what they can to help.
Twin Falls man, Rob Sturgill, started his charity, Type of Wood Charities, to assist in relief efforts back in 2014 after a natural disaster struck the Philippines. The charity is now raising funds, to aid Ukrainians.
Last week, Sturgill went online and rented passenger vans in Warsaw, Poland.
This past weekend Sturgill, his brother and their friends from Utah, headed to Poland. There, they are working to shuttle refugees from the border at Lviv to safe locations.
“It’s all about coordination and communication. From the time that we leave we are trying to line up rides and figure out who we’re going to take and where we’re going to take them,” said John Norton, Sturgill’s friend and a volunteer from Utah.
Refugees are transported to homes of relatives, Airbnbs and to houses of people across Europe opening their homes to those seeking refuge. If accommodations are needed, the group arranges it with help from their team in the U.S.
“It’s amazing to me that the sadness and fear can be swallowed up by this love and kindness of all the people pulling together to help their Ukrainian brothers and sisters,” said Sturgill.
Since landing in Poland, the group has seen people from around the world banning together to help.
“We’ve got folks that we bumped into last night from Spain, that’ve driven all the way across with medical supplies and ready to fill up those vans full of people to take them into their homes in Spain,” said Sturgill.
A United Kingdom based charity organization, Siobhan's Trust is also on the ground in Poland, ready to greet Ukrainians with food and necessities.
“We are a resupply team so we got a van trailer with resupplies. What we’ve been seeing, is a 24 hour operation with a continuous flow of human traffic coming across the border,” said Neil Laughton with Siobhan's Trust.
According to the UN Refugee Agency, there have been over 3 million refugees fleeing Ukraine since February 24.
“We’ve not only come to support the Ukrainians but we’ve come to support the Polish people and their efforts in helping the Ukrainians,” said Norton.
You can use Charity Navigator when deciding where to donate to Ukrainian relief efforts. You can donate to Type of Wood Charities here. Donations can also be made to the International Rescue Committee.