Buckets of Goods and Love Headed to Ukraine

To donate to the Global Samaritan project to fill buckets with household items for refugees fleeing Ukraine, go to www.globalsamaritan.org. It costs $40 to fill and ship each 5-gallon bucket.


“They need help.” 

That was the only reason Bill Payne needed to show up May 2 at Global Samaritan Resources to help pack 5-gallon buckets with household goods for refugees fleeing Ukraine. The buckets will be shipped from Abilene to Romania, where a partner agency, Jeremiah’s Hope, will make sure they get to the refugees.

The bucket-packing is an initiative announced in March by Global Samaritan Resources in response to the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops. It costs $40 to fill and ship a bucket, and donations can be made on Global Samaritan’s website, www.globalsamaritan.org. More packing events like the one held May 2 will be announced as they are scheduled, said Leslie Wilkins, director of development. The goal is to pack 1,000 buckets, which were provided by Tractor Supply, Lowe’s, and Home Depot.

“We’re not up to the 1,000 mark yet,” Wilkins said, “but we’re going to get there.”

Leslie Wilkins, left, and Marilyn Flournoy packs goods bound for Ukraine during a May 2 packing event at Global Samaritan Resources. Photos by Loretta Fulton

All she needs is more volunteers like the group of mostly women from Pioneer Drive Baptist Church who showed up Monday, May 2. Wilkins is a member of Northside Baptist Church and her mother, Linda Benson is a member of Pioneer Drive. All Wilkens had to do to get the ball rolling was to contact her mother, who in turn notified other members at Pioneer Drive that they were needed. One of the volunteers, Marilyn Flournoy, said it was easy to assemble the crew.

“We want to help do this,” she said. “Our hearts break for them.”

The buckets are filled with basic household goods like vegetable peelers, can openers, wash cloths and towels, soap, dishes, and silverware. Many refugees fled their homes in Ukraine with little more than what they could stuff into a few bags. They will receive the buckets at refugee shelters in Romania. 

Bill and Judy Payne, left, join with Anita Aycock, Marilyn Flournoy, and Nancy Watson in packing buckets with household goods to benefit refugees fleeing Ukraine. Photos by Loretta Fulton

When the volunteers showed up Monday, everything was in place to begin the assembly line process of packing the buckets, guided by a printed “Bucket List.” Other volunteers had set everything out the previous Friday, so that Monday’s volunteers could get started as soon as they arrived–or almost as soon as they arrived.

“We had to have a tutorial about how to pack these things,” joked Judy Payne, whose husband is Bill Payne and “a great guy,” according to Judy.

Mike Murphy moves a stack of filled buckets to a staging area at Global Samaritan Resources. Photo by Loretta Fulton

The filled buckets were placed on pallets that will be loaded into a 40-foot shipping container. The buckets will share space in the container with packages of soup mix and other dehydrated food provided by Breedlove Foods, Inc., a nonprofit relief agency in Lubbock. Personal hygiene items also will be a part of the shipment. From Abilene, the shipping container will go to Houston to be placed on a ship bound for Romania. There, it will be off-loaded to Jeremiah’s Hope, said Mike Murphy, director of logistics at Global Samaritan.

“Romania is basically a pass-through to get this into Ukraine,” Murphy said. 

Heather Juarez, director of marketing and communications for Global Samaritan Resources, packs a bucket that will be shipped to Romania for distribution to Ukrainian refugees. Photo by Loretta Fulton

Once the volunteers got through the “tutorial” on May 2, they set to work getting the job done, but having some fun, too. Judy Payne noted that the group of mostly women from Pioneer Drive Baptist Church enjoy visiting with each other. But she was quick to note that they were taking their job seriously.

“Nobody’s sloughing off to visit,” she said. 

Loretta Fulton is editor of Spirit of Abilene

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