EPHRAIM—About 15 members of the Manti High School junior varsity track team loaded more than 30,000 pounds of clothing (approximately 120,000 pieces) into a semi-truck trailer recently. The clothes are now bound for Kotowize, Poland.
The clothing, which was loaded Saturday, April 9, will be donated to several charities in Poland, which will oversee distribution to refugees fleeing Ukraine.
Because of donations from residents in and around Ephraim, Neighbors Thrift Store, 370 N. Main, had too many clothes to handle. The clothes were piling up in backroom of the store until the manager contacted United Volunteers to see if it could do anything with all those clothes.
United Volunteers is a charity based in Missouri that has worked with Neighbors in the past. A plan was developed, under which Neighbors would receive a few cents per pound for storing the goods.
But how to load hundreds of bags of donated clothes into a semi? That’s where the track team came in. United Volunteers offered to pay $800 to any group that could help. The team needed funds for equipment so it was a good fit.
About 20 young people showed up on Saturday morning, with about 15 staying all day. When the kids were told about halfway through the project that the team was actually getting some funds, they were surprised. None of them knew that they were doing a fundraiser—they just volunteered to help out. They weren’t even aware initially that the clothes would end up in Poland for Ukraine refugees.
United Volunteers is a non-profit that collects clothing and shoes for shipment to needy areas of the world. In the past few years, the charity has shipped items to different countries, with most of the clothing going to refugee camp in northern Kenya called Dadaab, which houses Somali refugees.
Funding for United Volunteers projects comes from donations and the sale of a small percentage of some clothing.
The load will arrive in Kotowize in about six weeks. It will go by truck from Ephraim to Houston, by cargo ship to Antwerpe, Belgium, and from there by rail to Poland.