Last Wednesday at the Preston Road Church of Christ, a slew of volunteers with hair nets, gloves and altruistic hearts assembled meals to send to battle zones of Ukraine.

“It turned out better than anyone could have predicted,” says David Vanderpool of Preston Hollow, who, along with his wife Margie Martin, helped spearhead and promote the effort.

The Vanderpools have been working with Ukrainian orphans since 2006.

“We started in Donetsk, Donbas Oblast, but moved to Zaporhizia when Putin invaded in 2014,” David explains.

The recent Russian conflict prompted his wife to start collecting supplies for refugees in Ukraine and shipping them to colleagues in Ivano-Frankivsk, he says.

A Preston Hollow church gym was a meal-packing hub this week 

Years ago, the Advocate published a story about Margie (whose family has been in Preston Hollow since 1937) and David (a retired surgeon who worked for Baylor more than 50 years )  and their work in Ukraine. They’d become fixtures in Ukrainian communities. They helped youths from the government-run orphanages with transitional housing and vocational classes.  And David helped with medical supplies and training.

Dr. Vanderpool estimates 140 or so people attended last week’s event, and an organization called Pack Shack, which specializes in packaging food for shipment, was elemental in getting so much done. When he first told us about the event, David said he expected to pack 15,000 meals, but they put together more than 30,000.

“The packaged food is dry, does not require refrigeration and can be reconstituted in boiling water,” David explains. “Our group produced red beans and rice, an appropriate Texas meal. Pack Shack will send the three palates of packaged food to Ukraine by way of Convoy of Hope. The food will go to areas that are in the war zone.”

The Vanderpools, by Benjamin Hager for the Advocate, 2011

Margie Martin continues to collect supplies to send to Ukrainian refugees in Ukraine, Poland and Romania, David tells us. “A group worked at our home two weeks ago, preparing such things as first aid kits, hygiene kits, children’s vitamins, diapers and others and we have shipped twenty boxes to Ukraine. They will be working again in a couple of weeks.”

Anyone who wishes to donate items for kits can drop off goods at 6936 Lupton, the Vanderpools say. Here is what is needed: New travel sized toothbrushes and toothpaste, new travel-sized shampoos, soap, deodorant, disposable towelettes and zip-lock bags in which to package them.

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