Kent State graduate student raises $892 at local Ukraine fundraiser

Lydia+Lisowsky+is+a+graduate+student+and+second+generation+Ukranian+American

Courtesy of Kent State University

Lydia Lisowsky is a graduate student and second generation Ukranian American

Jesse Khalil, Reporter

A booming blend of lively conversation and a shared passion for supporting a good cause lit up Ray’s Place on April 6 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Downtown Kent bar was filled with people eager to help raise awareness and money for medical supplies to send soldiers currently fighting in Ukraine.

The fundraiser was organized by Lydia Lisowsky, a second-generation Ukrainian American and graduate student at Kent State.

The event was limited to the upstairs section of the bar, where a list of specials written in blue and yellow were displayed alongside a Ukrainian flag. The full menu was also available for selection upstairs, where 20 percent of the money earned would be given to the fundraiser. Attendees were immediately welcomed by the flag and menu, along with a donation jar and ribbons to wear in support of the cause.

A menu of specials offered at Ray’s Place in support of the fundraiser April 6. ( Jesse Khalil)

Those interested in helping the cause attended either alone or with friends, including Olivia Grescovich, a junior human development and family studies major, who came out to Ray’s with a group of friends. “I heard about the event from a friend and was excited to check it out,” Grescovich said. “Everything on the news is so sad and my friends and I have been looking for a way to help. This event was perfect because we could go out and the money we spend is going toward a cause we care about.”

The fundraiser at Ray’s was able to draw $892 from the cash donations jar and Venmo alone.

People were packed in the upstairs section of the bar, scooting past lines of people waiting for drinks or groups clustered around tables making small talk. Kent State students, alumni, professors and even individuals who are not involved with the university were given the opportunity to meet new people who shared a passion for helping a good cause.

Lisowsky was thrilled by the “incredible” turnout.

“People were donating $10 or $15 and you may think that is not a lot but if 100 people do that, that is a lot of money that all adds up,” she said.

The large turnout also caught the attention of Ray’s Place owner, Charlie Thomas.

“I was very much pleased with the turnout,” Thomas said. “It was 2 to 2.5 times the turnout we usually get on a Tuesday or Wednesday.”

Roseann “Chic” Canfora, media and movements professor and co-founder of the May 4 Task Force, took note of how packed the bar became throughout the night.

A list of medical supplies being collected across campus. (Courtesy of the KSU Ukraine Humanitarian Aid Instagram)

“I am hoping that more events like this will draw even more support. I know they are probably worried that they are going to run out of room,” she said. “We just need to find more room because it is for such a good cause, and it is catching on.”

The amount of support may have been normal people coming out for a normal night, but this time it was for a good cause, Canfora said.

The event successfully drew in a wide range of supporters. However, the number of young adults and college students outnumbered the older crowd.

“I am so happy to see so many young people upstairs at Ray’s,” Canfora said. “They’re not down the street or downstairs, they came up here for this event because it is for a purpose.”

Lisowsky also successfully organized donation bins across campus for medical supplies. She also accepts donations posted on an Amazon Wishlist, where individuals can purchase medical supplies that Lisowsky will pack into medical kits.

More posts regarding other events, updates and ways to donate can be found on the KSU Ukraine Humanitarian Aid Instagram page.

Jesse Khalil is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]