FARMINGTON, Utah — A Farmington couple is packing their bags before taking a few hundred pounds of donations to Poland on Wednesday.
Mike and Christie Benson have received a variety of donations they plan to provide to Ukrainian refugees.
The Benson's say they originally had a vacation to British Columbia scheduled around this time. However, when those plans fell through, they say they decided to see if there was an opportunity to go a bit closer to the people in need in Ukraine, and find out if there was a way they could help.
Last month, Christie made a post on Facebook letting people know their plan to head to Poland and asking if anyone would be willing to donate several small items.
"We've had people knit dozens and dozens of sweaters," said Mike. "There have been hundreds of stuffed animals, several hundred other types of toys."
The Benson's had several suitcases filled with items in vacuumed seal bags.
"We're blessed enough to be able to go and serve people on the front line, but also to take some, some of that love with us in the form of gifts," Mike said.
The donations have come from people the couple knows, to complete strangers who just felt the need to help. They've received not only stuffed animals and toys, but some necessities, like toiletries. They even received a bunch of cards from people of all ages.
"One of the kids who brought stuff wrote them a message from the heart," Mike said.
The Benson's also received more than $3,000 in monetary donations, money that will be used on the ground in Poland to help Ukrainian refugees.
"It's been pretty, and an overwhelmingly beautiful response to a crisis situation," Mike said.
Once they get to Poland, the Benson's say they will be partnering with a local church that already has boots on the ground and is established in the community. Mike said he expects to see people who have lost family members and even those who might not even know if their family is still alive back in Ukraine.
That's why, the Benson's said, they hope they can help them in their time of need.
"We feel like we might be able to share some smiles or hugs and we want to do that," Mike said.
The Benson's tell FOX 13 News they will fly out Wednesday morning and arrive in Warsaw just before Noon Thursday. They plan to be there about a 10 days before heading home on April 16.