Organized by our treasurer, Anton Asvirskyi, the humanitarian aid drive collected clothes, emergency medical items, and hygiene products for Anton's hometown of Zaporizhzhia. The town is located in the south-central part of Ukraine near the frontlines of the war and has welcomed many internally displaced Ukrainians from the east. Through collections that spanned most of April, we were able to gather more than 10,000 pounds of aid and ship it in partnership with the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America (UMANA)
In partnership with Alya, a Gainesville local Ukrainian, we organized a Ukrainian stand at the Haile Farmers Market. We sold cookies, bracelets, and craft items to raise money for the shipment of humanitarian aid that we collected. Members of the Gainesville Ukrainian community have continued to operate the Ukrainian stand with Alya for many Saturdays!
In April, 2022 the Ukrainian Student Association participated in the Viva Europe Festival sponsored by the Center for European Studies. At the festival, kids and adults visited different European countries' stands to learn about their culture, traditions, and national dress. The Ukrainian Student Association had a sunflower craft for kids, which informed them of the significance of the sunflower as a national symbol of Ukraine. We also sold Ukrainian support pins in partnership with Pins for Purpose and gave all proceeds to aid in Ukraine.
At the beginning of April, we commemorated the innocent lives taken by the war in Ukraine. Thousands of civilians have died as a result of the Russian invasion, and many members of our local community have been personally affected by this tragedy. We gathered to light candles in honor of these Ukrainians and prayed for a restoration of peace to Ukraine. Rabbi Jonah of UF Hillel and Pastor Anderson of Aletheia Church joined us and led in prayer. Their wise words were a great comfort to our community, and we are grateful for their presence and representation of two of Ukraine's major religions.
In March, our community of Ukraine supporters organized a fundraiser to collect money for humanitarian aid. Our members made crocheted pins, bracelets, and Ukrainian flag colored cookies to raise money and awareness about the war. We held the fundraiser on the University of Florida campus and saw many students and faculty show solidarity for Ukraine. In total, we were able to raise $1,000, which we donated to Razom for Ukraine, a nonprofit specializing in medical and humanitarian aid in Ukraine. We are grateful for every individual who made a donation!