4-H council donates bunk beds to help people of Ukraine, Belize

·3 min read
Representatives from Monroe County 4-H and Rotary District 6600’s MESA load bunk beds and military cots onto a truck. Previously used by 4-H members, the beds will be shipped to help Ukrainian refugees and medical staff in Belize. Pictured is Gary Davis, left, Norm Grey, Scott Salyers, Kevin Kittendorf and Ben Kittendorf. Not pictured: Shelly Haise and Mary Wickenheiser.
Representatives from Monroe County 4-H and Rotary District 6600’s MESA load bunk beds and military cots onto a truck. Previously used by 4-H members, the beds will be shipped to help Ukrainian refugees and medical staff in Belize. Pictured is Gary Davis, left, Norm Grey, Scott Salyers, Kevin Kittendorf and Ben Kittendorf. Not pictured: Shelly Haise and Mary Wickenheiser.

A building inspection in June at the Monroe County 4-H Activity Center sparked an interest in helping people in other parts of the world.

Bunk beds and military cots previously used by 4-H members are being shipped to help Ukrainian refugees and medical staff in Belize.

According to 4-H Council President Ben Kittendorf, with the help of the Toledo Rotary Club, Rotary District 6600 and its international service project – Medical Equipment and Supplies Abroad Foundations, Inc. (MESA), the much-needed bedding is scheduled to leave the U.S. later this month and in October.

Rotary District 6600 is a group that collaborates with global organizations to provide technology and medical supplies to Central America, West Africa, and Eastern European countries. The district includes 62 clubs and more than 3,000 members in Northern Ohio.

Donations are collected and shipped from two Rotary warehouses located in the U.S. with one in Fostoria, Ohio. Shipping containers are typically sent on a monthly basis.

Kittendorf, who has been involved with 4-H since he was 7, said when the activity center was inspected, council members discovered the building inspector was affiliated with the Toledo Rotary and MESA.

“As we walked through what used to be the dormitory, I had mentioned that the council had voted to look for a charity to offload a lot of supplies we are no longer using but we could not find one,” Kittendorf said.

Gary Davis, left, Ben Kittendorf and Scott Salyers, representatives from Monroe County 4-H and Rotary District 6600’s MESA, prepare to ship bunk beds and cots to help Ukrainian refugees and medical staff in Belize.
Gary Davis, left, Ben Kittendorf and Scott Salyers, representatives from Monroe County 4-H and Rotary District 6600’s MESA, prepare to ship bunk beds and cots to help Ukrainian refugees and medical staff in Belize.

As the group learned more about MESA’s commitment to store and ship still-usable medical supplies and equipment, they discussed the possibility of donating the beds – barrack bunks and medical cots.

“We knew we were no longer going to use them and rather than keep them in storage and use them as shelves, we decided our best option was to try to donate them where they could be used,” he said.

Kittendorf estimates the 30 bunks and 60 beds, believed to be World War II surplus bunks, have not been used in several years.

The 23-year-old said the beds will be divided and half will go to Poland and half to Belize.

“I was told they also have mattresses coming from a hospital and university as well,” he said. “So, they’ll have the mattresses for the bunks and quite a few on top of that.”

According to Director of Operations for MESA Scott Salyers, the organization sends shipments both locally and globally.

Salyers said the beds along with supplies will be shipped to Poland for Ukrainian refugees and to nurses and medical staff in Belize where they will be used in a Hospice-like facility.

Kittendorf explained the importance of helping the people of Ukraine and Belize.

“The 4-H motto is ‘To make the best, better.’ In everything we do, we try to improve our community. Knowing we weren’t going to use the beds, we decided to look beyond 4-H to see where we could help,” he said. “Bettering the community is what 4-H is all about. We found a community that needed some help and we’re trying to help them.”

This article originally appeared on The Monroe News: 4-H Council donates bunk beds to help people of Ukraine, Belize