Volunteer Profile: Carlissa

Carlissa Pugh Larsen is our dedicated and fiercely intelligent Director of Utah Operations. Under her expert management, the Utah program and army of volunteers has collected, packed, and shipped off 5 shipping containers bound for refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon. 


1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a 36 year-old native of Utah. I have an Associate degree in science and a Bachelor's degree in Geography from Brigham Young University. I am currently considering getting a degree in marketing management. I'm a devoted wife and mother to 3 young children.

2. What is a day of volunteering at LHI Utah like for you?
My volunteer days vary greatly -- Some days I drive a moving truck to pick up empty boxes for packing. Other days I'm organizing financial documents or meeting with partner organizations. My favorite days consist of helping to load shipping containers with all the desperately need supplies we've collected over several weeks or months.

3. What inspired you to get involved with LHI’s Utah program?
I wanted to help refugees and heard about LHI through a friend. Once I got involved with a one-off event, I saw that an immense number of fellow Utahns and others wanted to help but didn’t know how. LHI provided the how, and I proposed to establish a Utah program. I recognized that if I put my efforts into organizing a lot of people to do just a little, we could create a whole lot more good than I ever could have provided by myself.

4. What has been your most rewarding experience volunteering with LHI Utah?
I love watching our volunteers lives be blessed through their service -- from someone needing to do community service hours to elderly in nursing homes that need something productive to do to keep their hands and minds active. I started with LHI because I wanted to help refugees, but in doing so we've created a program that has blessed the lives of so many others as well because they've been given opportunities to serve.

5. What have you learned since volunteering with LHI? Has your perspective changed?
I've learned that humanity still exists in this self-destructive world, that there are people who are still kind and tolerant and humane despite the scenes of horror displayed on news sources and social media.  While we should never turn a blind eye to inhumanity, we must also acknowledge that good still exists and that is where we find our hope and courage as we strive to create a better world.

Our warehouse in Pleasant Grove in Utah is run by an army of dedicated volunteers who collect, sort, and pack critically needed items for refugees. We are always looking for groups to donate items and kits. Since needs are constantly shifting due to the ebb and flow of donations, please email traci@liftinghandsinternational.org for current needs. You can also provide critical aid with a few clicks by ordering an item off our Amazon wishlist