The KSU Ukraine Humanitarian Aid group, founded by graduate student Lydia Lisowsky and her cousin, alumnus Paul Jatsyshyn, hosted a packaging event in the Kent State Ballroom Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Volunteers lined up on both sides of long tables, stuffing vacuum sealer bags with bandages, gloves, cotton gauze rolls, combine pads, antibiotic ointment and Tylenol. Those interested in helping the cause were invited to sign up for a specific shift to cover and assemble the packages. About eighty people volunteered for each shift.
Eight folding tables were placed at the front of the ballroom where volunteers struggled to keep up with sealing and labeling the kits.
“We have people at every table moving really quickly,” Lydia Lisowsky said. “I really think we could reach our goal of 3,000 kits; it is just a matter of moving quick enough and keeping up with time and each other.”
The grand total of 3,172 assembled kits surpassed the group’s initial goal. Volunteers like Anthony Savoca, a junior human resource management major, felt a connection to the cause, which made him eager to lend a helping hand.
“I am in the military and seeing something like this is devastating, especially in this day in age,” Savoca said. “I can’t help but think back to World War I or World War II and how the world was impacted by that. To think it is happening now in real time is just sad, but I am happy to have a way to help.”
Lisowsky and Jatsyshyn, two second-generation Ukrainian Americans, organized the campus-wide donation and packaging event after seeing the tragedies that struck the Ukrainian community worldwide.
“The Ukrainian community all around the world is so tight knit,” Lisowsky said. So, it was really important for us to come up with a way to be able to get a lot of people involved to help, especially people who are not Ukrainian.”
The two launched an Instagram page highlighting the efforts their new organization was making to help the civilians and soldiers in Ukraine. They have since organized a local fundraiser and donations to purchase the supplies making up the kits.
The success of the fundraisers and packaging event inspired Lisowsky to continue her efforts for years to come. She plans on making the KSU Ukraine Humanitarian Aid an official student organization this upcoming fall semester.
“I am hoping to have a table up at FlashFest to get more people involved and create more of a team organizing events as opposed to just me and Paul doing everything,” Lisowksy said.
She hopes to host another packaging event in the fall to continue supporting Ukraine.
“Even when the war ends, the people will be feeling the aftermath for years to come,” she said. “I want to continue giving what I can and give students a way to get involved and help those who need it the most right now.”
Stay up to date with donations, fundraisers and upcoming events on the KSU Ukraine Humanitarian group’s Instagram page.
Jesse Khalil is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]