Schuyler Commons residents aid Ukraine relief effort
UTICA — Residents and members of the Schuyler Commons Residence Association recently donated $3,105 in gift cards from local merchants to assist newly-arriving refugees to the area from Ukraine.
Zyn Jackiw, of St. Volodymyr the Great Ukrainian Church in Utica, said the residents provided “much needed donations and funds to St. Volodymyr Church for our Refugee Relief program this past year.”
Jackiw, a church trustee, explained that the parish started to put together its traditional food sales, such as its pierogi and cabbage rolls, and earmarked them for humanitarian and medical aid for Ukraine, along with individual donations, starting back at the start of the Russian invasion on Feb. 24 of last year.
“For the past year, we’ve been able to accumulate over $175,000 from our food sales and donations, and all that money has been used for those purposes — medical supplies to wounded soldiers and humanitarian needs for orphans,” Jackiw said. “We pretty much met our goal and continue doing that. Last year, Schuyler Commons had a couple fundraising events and they provided us, once again, with assistance for those efforts. Then they reached out earlier this year, and asked, ‘How can we help?’”
Jackiw said Schuyler Commons residents, with Ray Schoeberlein at the lead, came up with idea that people coming over here from Ukraine will require monies to purchase things they need. That is how they got involved in giving to St. Volodymyr’s Refugee Relief program.
“The Residence Association contacted residents” to ask for donations, “so Ray Schoeberlein was really instrumental with this,” he said. “Now the gift cards will be used for three or four families who are in the pipeline, waiting for authorization to travel. They will be used for them once they arrive to purchase basic needs like food, clothing and furnishings. Housing has already been established for them, and the gift cards will help get them set up and organized, and on their way.”
Schoeberlein said the Schuyler Commons Residence Association had two campaigns — one in June of last year that raised funding for Ukrainian military support and for orphans, and the other in February to support refugees in the Utica area.
“The invasion by Russia is seen by me as similar to when the Nazis invaded Poland at the start of WWII,” said Schoeberlein. “No one came to their aid in 1939 and now with the Ukrainians, it’s time for us to take a positive action of sanctions, aid and weapons, and to do what we can to support the effort. As far as the war effort, we’ve been very supportive and sympathetic.”
St. Volodymyr’s Refugee Relief has worked cooperatively with The Center of Utica, and Jackiw said, “they allow us access to immigration lawyers and help us set up people” coming to the area from Ukraine “with various services, like if they’re eligible for Social Security, the county SNAP program, or housing assistance, they’re there to help us through all that processing.”
For those who wish to make a monetary donation to help those in need in Ukraine through St. Volodymyr the Great Ukrainian Church in Utica, the parish accepts cash or checks made out to “Ukrainian Catholic Church.” Checks may be sent to: St. Volodymyr Church, 296 Genesee St., Utica, N.Y. 13502.
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