Church building in Lviv, Ukraine provides ‘shelter from the storm’

LVIV, Ukraine — The baptismal font is a shower, the chapel and gymnasium are large chambers: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has transformed its church in Lviv, Ukraine, into a refugee center.

Two people, Kym Reichart and Raphaela Hasse from Schwabmünchen, Germany, have offered to help, driving and delivering relief to a chapel in Lviv for the past two months.

According to a church press release, “When Reichart heard about the need for drivers to transport supplies to Ukraine through a local businessman, she felt compelled to offer its services. Her father participated in the Berlin Airlift in 1949.

“Every room in the church building has been transformed, including the chapel area, to accommodate the refugees,” Reichart said. The statement explains that leaders and members of the local church in Lviv come every day to clean up and help. Even the baptismal font has been converted into a shower area with timetables for use.

The parish hall of the church, according to Reichart, is a place where people “can draw strength before continuing to the border, since most of the refugees only stay for two or three nights”.

With contributions from other humanitarian agencies, relief supplies are being distributed from the church building to those in need. From there, Reichart said a bus from Poland offered free transportation to all refugees fleeing to Poland. According to the press release, “the bus company is telling the refugees that if they can get to Lviv, they can be fed and accommodated in the church building before traveling to Poland.”

Reichart said she wanted others to know what’s going on there.

“When we live in safety, I hope we don’t feel comfortable with our safety,” she said. “The need is still there and is not going away in the short term. It’s a long road for so many people.

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