GILBERT — Ukrainians are struggling to access food and water. A Valley church is stepping up with others to help.
Sunday is still several days away. But at Sun Valley Church of Christ in Gilbert, many members are getting in line on Thursday to help Ukraine.
"The people here are very energetic and enjoy mission work. They enjoy doing benevolent work and humanitarian aid,” said Sun Valley Church of Christ Elder Glenn Mabley.
Mabley and his fellow church members are filling buckets and storage bags.
"We are supplying the Ukrainians, who are fleeing their own countries, with humanitarian aid as far as buckets for simple things,” added Mabley.
The buckets and bags hold many essential items Ukrainian refugees need like hygiene products and medical supplies.
John Kachelman, Jr., a missionary from Alabama who spent 30 years working in and around Ukraine, came up with the donation idea before the war started.
But soon after, he tapped his friends across the U.S. to help including Mabley.
"I knew John. I contacted John and said, 'hey, what can we do in Arizona to assist with this,'” said Mabley.
Mabley, like members at churches in eight other states, went to a big box store to ask for buckets to fill with supplies.
He hoped to get 50, but got a promise of 300.
He then reached out to churches. So far, a handful across the state are helping with the drive.
"We'd like to be able to get more people involved,” said Mabley.
Organizers across nine states expect the donations to stack 277 pallets which will be distributed through 44 shipments by air and sea. Organizers say someone even donated their time to fly the plane and driver the ships.
"It's hard to fathom, from my perspective, because it is hard to put myself in their shoes,” added Mabley.
The church will collect donations until the end of April.
You can find out how to donate by visiting https://sunvalleycoc.org.