CityServe, Pentecostal European Fellowship Unite to Bring Hope, 1 Million Meals to Ukraine
Editor's Note: L-R in video with Stephen Strang are as follows: Todd Lamphere, Pastor Pelle Hörnmark of Sweden, Karl Hargestam, Dave Donaldson.
Through its connections with the Pentecostal European Fellowship, CityServe already has boots on the ground to deliver a million meals behind front lines in Ukraine—often at great personal risk. And that's just the start of what will become the nonprofit's continuing efforts in the troubled region.
"Pastors and ministries are overwhelmed, but in the midst of that it's probably one of the greatest opportunities to share the love of Jesus, both in word and deed," CityServe Chairman and CEO Dave Donaldson says in a live video feed from Warsaw, Poland, reporting that the team was on the border until nearly midnight, watching thousands of families crossing over into Poland.
"It became crystal-clear to me last night that it's the church," Donaldson says. "The church of Jesus is the hope. These families need more than just food and clothing; they need a church family. Most of all they need Jesus, but they need a church family that they can trust. ... where are they going to go to trust, except for the church?
"We are on the brink of a major humanitarian response through the church," he adds. "This is a mighty force of the Lord that has been assembled for such a time as this, and we're believing for revival here in Poland, Ukraine, throughout Europe, and we're seeing signs of that."
In an effort this past weekend at the City of Destiny in Apopka, Florida, over 1,850 volunteers packed 1 million meals for Ukraine in eight hours, reports Pastor Todd Lamphere, who is also vice president of government relations for CityServe.
"This is a miracle, to get all the ingredients in from Iowa to Apopka from Tuesday to Friday, then to pack on Saturday was just a God-sized task, and if God didn't show up, it wasn't going to happen," Lamphere says. "And then getting the transportation was another God-thing. Transporting those meals is a minimum of a million-dollar ride from here into Warsaw. UPS came up in a big way and became a sponsor of us. And of course, we had an angel donor who donated $300,000 for the meals. And God's just sort of been there through all of this.
"And so as we speak, it's getting ready to be flown from Atlanta, Georgia, to Frankfurt, Germany, and then going to be bused from Frankfurt, Germany, to Warsaw," he explains. "And from here—we have a warehouse here—it will be depalletized, if you will, 100 pallets, 4800 boxes, 216 meals per box will be sent into Ukraine. And then the Ukrainian churches will come and pick up from that undisclosed location and then get it to the people in need.
"From your neighborhood to the nations" is the phrase Donaldson identifies as the theme of CityServe, known for its assistance with the Farmers to Families effort , which brought food to tens of thousands during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We have witnessed the last couple of days the same thing we did in Farmers to Families," Karl Hargestam, vice president of CityServe affiliates, says. "The local church is setting up the supply chain from warehouses to church networks, distributing, and they have told us, 'We would do this with no resources.' They're opening their homes, they're cooking their food, sharing their clothing—this is the local church at its best. The pastors are working day and night in Poland.
"In Ukraine, pastors are staying behind, risking their lives to serve the people," he says. "That supply chain, that's what's distributing these food boxes."
"We are making sure that this product goes even beyond enemy lines, where we have pastors, churches that are ready to make sure that this is going into the homes of their families that right now are being cut off from resources," Donaldson says.
"And so that's why we're rushing this food from America, our great country, to here in Poland," he adds. "And as Todd mentioned, we're getting that into the most severe areas of Ukraine. ... This is just a start." Future plans include distribution to help the refugees in Poland and other countries as well.
"I believe that this is what we have been seeing, that the church is not just the church with spiritual activities," says Pastor Pelle Hörnmark, chairman of the Pentecostal European Fellowship. "When logistics is needed, there are tremendous possibilities ... People are risking their lives. This morning, we talked with one pastor . . . he showed a picture of one of the vans in the church where the driver had been killed, it was full of bullet holes. So there are people risking their lives every day now, in this very moment, risking their lives to transport this food. So it's like a chain of people all over the world, doing their part. ... In this time, the church is shining brighter than ever."
To join this chain and become a part of what God is doing in Ukraine, Poland and beyond, click here to donate to CityServe's efforts on the front lines.
You may also wish to visit the special portal Charisma has created for you to give to trusted pastors and others in Ukraine through Christian Life Missions, our nonprofit partner. When you give here, 100% of your donation will reach those most in need. Click here to give to Ukraine.
Watch the entire video of the live report from Ukraine above or at this link and listen to the Strang Report podcast interview here. Subscribe to the Strang Report on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast platform for more informative, inspiring stories like this one.
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