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St. Peter’s Episcopal Group Asking for Sleeping Bags for Ukraine Homeless

By Alyssa Schnugg

News editor


Marybeth Marchbanks is asking the LOU community to donate sleeping bags for Ukraine. Photos by Alyssa Schnugg

Marybeth Marchbanks wanted to help the people of Ukraine when the war started but she wasn’t sure how.

It didn’t take her long to come up with a plan with the help of her church, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and the Rev. Penny Sisson. Together they discovered a way to help and are now asking the LOU community to join them by providing sleeping bags.

They have aptly named their project, “Wrap Ukraine in Warmth Sleeping Bag Drive.”

Sleeping bags can be dropped off at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on the Square.

Official figures show that 4,295 Ukrainian households have presented themselves to councils as homeless in February and that number has likely grown. Tens of thousands are homeless or living without heat and electricity.

The average temperature in Ukraine in the winter is 23 to 36 degrees.

The sleeping bags will be collected by St. Peter’s and then picked up by World/Ukraine Mission in Holly Springs. From there, they are shipped to Poland to be distributed at the border.

While they are primarily seeking sleeping bags, they are also accepting blankets.

Cash donations are needed as well since it costs thousands of dollars to ship the containers.

“They are also looking for sewing machines,” Sisson said. “Children are released from orphanages at 15 years old and they can’t take care of themselves so they are learning to sew to have a trade.”

Sleeping bags and blankets can be dropped off at the church, located on the west side of the downtown Square. If no one is at the church, Marchbanks said the donations can be left in the church’s atrium.

“People can also call me and I’d be happy to arrange to pick them up,” she said.

The sleeping bags will be collected by World/Ukraine Missions in Holly Springs and shipped to Poland where they will be taken across the border to Ukraine.

Thus far, the group has collected about 70 sleeping bags.

Marchbanks hopes to involve other organizations, churches and University of Mississippi students in the benefit drive.

The next shipment to Poland is in September. Marchbanks said they are collecting the sleeping bags through the middle of August for this shipment but hopes to continue the drive throughout the year with the help of other organizations.

“I wanted this to be a community project,” she said. “Anybody, everybody, any organization, any church, a civic group, even school kids.”

New, unused sleeping bags are preferred; however, Marchbanks said they will also accept clean, “gently used” sleeping bags.

For more information, call Marchbanks at 662-816-8556.

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