Utah men bring supplies to Poland, help start daycare for Ukrainian refugees


Jared Turner, left, and Josh Adams traveled to Poland to help Ukrainian refugees. They shared their experiences on Sunday. (Josh Adams and Jared Turner via KSL-TV)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Two Utah men share their experience helping Ukrainian refugee women and children fleeing to Poland.

Not only did they bring supplies and donations from Utah, but they also had unique opportunities to help — and that work continues even after we return home.

Jared Turner and Josh Adams said they started texting each other when the war started in February, wondering how they could help. The two longtime friends started doing research and decided to volunteer to do some field work. Turner and Adams booked plane tickets to Poland, then hatched a plan.

“We started gathering supplies, building networks and things like that,” Adams said. “But we made the decision to go in there a bit on the spur of the moment, and then we caught up with the ‘This is what they want, this is what they need,'” Adams recounted.

The two first met 25 years ago as fellow missionaries in Venezuela for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Adams and Turner began to form a different kind of missionary journey by teaming up again – this time, to serve people fleeing their home countries with nothing but suitcases and clothes on their backs.

As they networked with resources in Poland, Adams and Turner also began fundraising at their workplace. Turner explained that Amare Global, of which he is the CEO, collected donations.

Adams is the chief of the Orem City Police Department. He said the officers and their families were pooling donations and also wanted to make sure Adams had something uplifting to bring to the people of Ukraine. Children and staff members made cards filled with well wishes to hand out to Adams, he explained.

Next comes the purchase of supplies to bring to Poland. Turner said Scheel gave them a discount and with the donations they bought medical and emergency supplies like emergency blankets, LifeStraws and hammocks.

I was so encouraged by their attitude that here they have to leave their homeland, their homes and everything else – and they say to themselves, “I’m looking for a job. I seek independence. I try to continue.

–Jared Turner

They described how they each filled three suitcases to the brim and flew away. For the next eight days, they focused on helping at the Polish-Ukrainian border, as well as at train stations.

“We would go to a train station, ask what the needs were, help where we could,” Turner said. “(We) would donate some of these supplies, some money, the supplies that we brought from Utah.”

They each spoke of meeting resilient and courageous women and children who had to leave men behind and start over. Turner said he would see children in the station sitting with their mothers and grandmothers, knowing they didn’t know where they were going.

Adams said many women didn’t want cash handouts — they wanted to focus on finding a job. Their fighting spirit, he said, is what left a lasting impression on him.

“Just that attitude of — they’re very strong, independent, wonderful people,” Adams explained. “I was so encouraged by their attitude that here they have to leave their homelands, their homes and everything else – and they’re like, ‘I’m looking for work. I seek independence. seeks to continue.'”

The duo met a Ukrainian woman who owned a business in Ukraine that she had left behind, which sold children’s items.

This woman, they explained, wanted to open a reception center and day care center for refugees in Warsaw so that the women would have children to look after while they worked at their new jobs.

Adams and Turner described using their donations to help start the center and acquire supplies such as baby carriers, pacifiers and formula.

“Now we’re already talking about ‘OK, well, let’s start talking in May and June about how we can continue to support this, as long as there’s a need. How can we make this last? ‘” Adams said.

We need to remember and pay attention to people’s suffering, not numb ourselves and continue to advocate for refugees and for this conflict to end.

–Jared Turner

Aid work at this daycare, they said, will continue. Turner said he also supports World Central Kitchen, which was set up in Poland to provide food.

Amare Global, he added, has launched a roundup program where people who buy products can round up the price and donate to helping organizations in Poland.

During their trip, they had the chance to visit Auschwitz and recounted the dark experience while thinking about what was happening just two hours away. It added a deeper tone and meaning to the humanitarian journey.

“Coming from the border to Auschwitz was almost overwhelming, emotionally, to think that these atrocities were just happening across the border and we hadn’t learned to be better as people,” Turner said.

As they brought much-needed supplies and aid to Poland, the two brought back an even greater purpose and message for Utahns.

“We need to remember and pay attention to people’s suffering, not numb ourselves,” Turner said, adding, “and continue to advocate for refugees and for this conflict to end.”

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Lauren Steinbrecher

Lauren Steinbrecher is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and multimedia journalist who joined KSL in December 2021.

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