LEXINGTON, Va. – Southwest Virginia is making a difference from thousands of miles away.
When the call went out, the Lexington community stepped up in a big way to help the people of Ukraine.
10 News first told you about a church-led effort last week.
The First Baptist Church in Lexington is a small congregation with a big heart. 10 News met with them after a small clothing drive turned into what looked more like a clothing store. Since that story aired, many more donations have come in.
Sheena Herring of Buena Vista said she saw the story and wanted to help. So, she and her friend Connie Clark made a plan.
“We watched it on the news. We both had the same idea. The next morning she called me and said, I’ve got something I’ve got to talk to you about,” Herring said. “We know how bad it is in Ukraine for the people there. They are leaving with nothing, only the clothes on their backs. We have all of these clothes and shoes and we thought we may be able to really help and do some good for people,”
“We didn’t grow up with a lot of things. We get some things that we can’t use and if we can give back and help other people we give 100 percent,” Clark said.
They were one of many who showed up to donate.
Just as Pastor McKinley Williams of First Baptist Church thought volunteers had finished folding, sorting, boxing and loading up two truckloads of clothing and blankets, they found more had been dropped off.
“We were going to shut the doors at five and we saw 50 or 60 bags and 40 more boxes and it was just amazing. It was a good thing,” Williams said. “We started off small with thinking we will do maybe half a truck full.”
But it didn’t take long before more came through their doors.
“After the word got out thanks to the news, social media and word of mouth, people came from as far as Roanoke, Charlottesville, Lynchburg and Staunton, Virginia,” Williams said.
Their original goal of half a truck turned into three trucks full of donations. Kevin Callahan, with Paxton Van Lines, the company responsible for the drive that started in Northern Virginia said it was the largest single donation they have received.
“U-Haul truckloads. And I mean truckloads of clothing donations from the area down there,” Callahan said in reference to Southwest Virginia. Paxton Van Lines will ship it to Ukraine.
Williams said he hopes the people of Ukraine know they are not alone.
“The first thought that came to my mind is that people have love in their hearts and want to do something and want to help. And this is really going to express love to the people over across the seas when they receive these items,” Williams said.