CHARLES TOWN — Libby Powell, owner of Sibling Coffee Roasters in Charles Town, wants to give plenty of notice to her customers that the coffee shop, located at 109 W. Washington St., will be closing for two weeks at the end of June.
While Powell said that she and her husband, Darrin, have closed before for family vacations, this reason serves an international purpose: The couple will be traveling to Romania to assist Ukrainian refugees.
“There is a group of eight people going from our church — First Baptist Church in Ranson,” Powell said.
In addition to Powell and her husband, two of their adult children, Sierra, 22, and Nicholas, 21, will also be traveling. Leslie Quodala, 18, Skylar Gray, 22, and Zoe Suire, 17, all of whom are baristas in the popular coffee shop, will also be traveling, which leads to the necessity of closing the shop for those two weeks.
The group will be assisting refugees at Camp Hope in Râ?nov, Romania. Refugees are being housed at the location, shared Eric Schrock, a missionary to Romania who will head back there in the coming days.
“Since February, Camp Hope has housed approximately 90 refugees,” Schrock said.
He added that some of those are transient. However, around 50 have been housed there full-time after fleeing their homes in Ukraine. Camp Hope sits approximately six hours from the border of the war-ravaged Ukraine.
The church has worked with PREACH Evangelistic Ministries to support the needs of the Ukrainian people at Camp Hope.
“Through funds donated, PREACH provides medical supplies, clothing, food and Bibles that are printed in a variety of languages,” Schrock said, adding that the workers who travel to Camp Hope will help meet what physical needs there are, as well as psychosocial needs.
“Seeing that people care about them makes a world of difference,” Schrock explained.
He went on to say that the people who have fled Ukraine have done so with nothing.
“It was winter in Ukraine and in Romania. It’s cold. It is just beginning to turn to spring. We are doing our best to meet the needs of the people,” Schrock said, sharing that most of the refugees are women and children who have left husbands, dads, brothers and fathers behind in Ukraine to fight. “It’s a horrible situation. Some have no idea if their loved ones are alive or dead. They have no idea if they will ever be able to return to their homes or if their homes are still there.”
“I want these kids to see that we’ve got it pretty good here,” Powell said, referring to the young people planning to travel to Romania. “I believe the switch will flip to full compassion.”
As the group prepares for the trip, Powell shared that the church is able to fund up to 50% of the travel costs. However, the group is working to raise funds for the remainder of the cost, as well as to secure additional funds to contribute to the needs of the refugees.
“The costs continue to go up for food and other necessities in Romania,” Schrock said, adding that gasoline runs about $8 per gallon.
Anyone who would be interested in assisting with the financial needs of the missions group may do so by contacting First Baptist Church at 304-725-8078 or sending checks directly to the church with “Romania missions” in the memo line. The checks can be mailed to First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 336, Ranson, WV 25438.
“I just wanted to let our customers know in advance what will be happening,” Powell said. “I want to thank them for their understanding of why we feel that helping with what is happening in Ukraine is so important.”