After seeing Instagram users posting about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Lauren Scully wanted to do what she could to help Ukrainians, ultimately deciding to donate helpful supplies.
“It’s just an easy thing for us to be able to do, just buy a few extra things at the grocery store or CVS and donate it.,” said Scully, a senior film and media arts major.
Scully is one of many Temple University students who contributed to a donation drive for Ukraine in the Annenberg Hall atrium on March 17 and March 18, hosted by the Latinx Media Association and Lambda Pi Eta. Organized by Luisa Suarez, Thomas Hernandez and Lucy Niyazova, the drive collected monetary donations and supplies like toothbrushes and menstrual products for Ukrainians, which were dropped off at the United Ukrainian American Relief Committee on March 18.
Scully donated soap bars, toothbrushes and toothpaste, which she purchased at the Fresh Grocer at Broad Street near Oxford, she said.
“Donating something that is tangible feels good,” Scully added.
Suarez, a senior journalism and political science major and co-president of the Latinx Media Association, came up with the idea for the donation drive. She brought it to Hernandez, a senior communications studies and political science major who also serves as co-president of the Latinx Media Association and president of Lambda Pi Eta.
Suarez believes it’s important for students to take action because even a small contribution can make a difference to someone in need.
“I think the students are really, really amazing,” Suarez said. “You know, sometimes I don’t think we have all the money in the world, but we still really pull out and we donate, which is really amazing to see.”
Niyazova, a senior communications studies major, got involved because she has friends in Ukraine and didn’t want to feel powerless to help them. She said although she’s Russian, she doesn’t support Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“I’m just trying to show up as much as I can and represent the Uzbek voice, represent the Russian voice and represent my community and my political views,” she added.
The drive also accepted cash donations, which were used to purchase more supplies. Niyazova and Suarez emailed receipts to people who donated to show their money was not misused, Suarez said.
Melina Spatharis donated tampons and diapers because she feels women are often overlooked in crisis situations and has seen multiple images of toddlers in news coverage of Russia’s invasion.
“I hope to bring some relief to the people and to bring someone comfort,” said Spartharis, a sophomore public policy major. “At least they can have some, a little bit of normalcy.”
Even though her donation was small, Spartharis believes if the Temple community steps up, the drive will have a bigger impact.
“It’s the right, humane thing to do,” Spartharis said.
Angela Largo, a senior communications studies major and member of Lambda Pi Eta, donated toothpaste, soap bars, tampons and a first aid kit.
She was looking for a way to help and was inspired to donate because there aren’t many other ways for college students to help people affected by an international crisis.
Largo feels confident donating items because she knows they will be given to Ukrainians in need and will have an impact, even if it’s a small one.
“Just any little thing helps, especially during a time like this when we’re facing a crisis like this,” she said. ”Even if you don’t think that you can help, just that extra box or extra item that you have in your house that you think is not going to use right now.”
Alex Angelopoulos saw the drive on March 17 and didn’t have anything to donate at the moment, so came back the next day and gave the organizers two dollars while dressed as Spider-Man.
He felt bad he didn’t have more money to give but was glad he gave something that might make someone’s life easier, said Angelopoulos, a sophomore film and media arts major.
“If you can even just help one person, that makes all the difference,” he said.
Hernandez is glad the Latinx Media Association is collecting donations and believes it’s important for people of all backgrounds to help Ukraine.
“When there’s a crisis happening, no matter who you are you should be able to help out in some way,” he added.