Tampa Bay twins and quilt shop owners put together a way to help Ukrainian refugees
DADE CITY, Florida. – The quilting community has come together to help Pasco County quilt fabric store owners raise tens of thousands of dollars for Ukrainian refugees fleeing to Poland.
Rachael Woodard owns Quilted Twins in Dade City with her twin sister Becky Petersen, who lives in Poland and does missionary work with her husband. Woodard said she spoke with her sister every day and heard about Ukrainians fleeing the war.
“She is there, in Warsaw, and a lot of Ukrainians came to Poland and vice versa. But mainly her husband was going to Ukraine about three times a year to teach in small churches, to teach the Old Testament to pastors “Woodard said.
She said Becky wanted to shift her energy to helping refugees, so Becky wrote a blog post on their store’s website and Rachael emailed their subscribers with a link to donate.
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“We started on Saturday and by Monday we had already raised $18,000 or something. I realized we were going to strike a chord because so many people have Ukrainian or Polish parents here in the United States,” said Woodard said.
On Tuesday, Woodard said he raised more than $70,440 in online donations over the past 10 days. The store also received donations in the mail. Becky’s nonprofit Solid Rock Foundation is using the money to buy supplies in Poland.
“They gave with their hearts, and it brought me to tears. My heart is just tender right now to what’s going on,” Woodard said.
She said Becky then uses the money to buy diapers, medical kits, food and more, getting them to centers that need them. The Quilting Community partners with the Polish community to provide what families on the run need.
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“100% of what people give goes because we don’t even keep the money fees. Our business covers those,” Woodard said.
They also cover heat refugees.
“One of the things Becky does is she said she sews as fast as she can and makes quilts, so they can provide everyone with bedding. You don’t don’t even think about how important it is to lay down at night with a pillow and a blanket and sleep,” said Woodard, who said the duvets and pillowcases were part of a care package intended to refugees.
Some refugees are staying at his sister’s church in Warsaw, a city about three hours’ drive from the Ukrainian border. Woodard said Poles see kinship in Ukrainians.
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Woodard received a message from a Polish national saying: “War is so close and we have experienced a similar situation in the past. It is not possible to pretend that nothing is happening. [to] help each other. Thank you for your support in this difficult situation.”
“Even though we can sit here in our comfortable homes and come home and watch TV and do whatever we want, there are people who can’t because of a bully,” Woodard said. “He’s taken their homes, and these people are running and they’re running to Poland. They need funds. They need help getting materials and supplies.”
Woodard said the money raised has also bought 10 medical kits so far that first responders can use to save lives in the field. Quilted Twins has a donation link on their website as well as blog posts about refugee relief efforts.