As the world watches the devastating attacks on the sovereign country of Ukraine, the St. Vincent College (SVC) Education Department has begun offering a means to allow western Pennsylvanians to help.
Currently, it is estimated that two million refugees have entered Poland with only the clothes on their backs and a bag with all that they own. To provide some method of assistance to these displaced peoples, the Education Department began seeking an opportunity to help.
“While watching the events unfold on the news and after several messages with colleagues in utter shock and the complete feeling of helplessness, I decided to research if there was a method to help collect item donations for the Ukrainians,” said Dr. Veronica Ent, Education Department chairperson.
After much searching, the only opportunity that appeared to accept item donations was an effort by a company named Teknika Strapping Systems, Inc. in the San Francisco Bay Area. This company distributes to Poland and has the logistic systems to get the needed items to the refugees.
A recent NBC News report revealed that Teknika was planning to accept donations in Pennsylvania. dr Ent reached out to the company in California, which in turn directed her to Roland Henry, president of Interpack Systems Inc. of Mechanicsburg. Interpack Systems Inc. is a sister company of Teknika Strapping Systems.
After obtaining approval from SVC President the Rev. Paul Taylor, OSB, Dr. Ent secured the collection location at the Fred Rogers Center on campus with the support of Dr. Dana Winters, director of the center.
dr Ent, along with Dr. Kathleen Beining, Carol Borland, Dr. Jen Buxton, Dr. Tracy McNelly, Dr. Stacie Nowikowski, Joan Roach, Dr. Aaron Sams and Dr. Dawn Turkovich — all from the Education Department — began the work of spreading the word to the community; securing satellite collection locations at Manor Presbyterian Church in Manor, Church of the Ascension in Pittsburgh, and Christ the King Church in Leechburg; and organizing donations on campus.
Faculty have asked campus clubs and organizations, student affairs and community members to help load, pack and arrange the collection. dr Ent’s husband, Len Dombrowski, and Edward Butina, an officer of the Latrobe Eagles FOE 01188 and owner of EMB Machining Services in Whitney, will deliver the donations to Mechanicsburg on April 1. Drs. Ent, Nowikowski and Buxton will be traveling behind with 16 education students to help unload the donations into the warehouse Henry secured.
“The outpouring of donations is so inspiring,” said Dr. legging “The collection room is near full of donations from the community, and it truly is overwhelming and a testament to hearts of our community to give so freely and without hesitation to help these victims of war.”
Items that are most needed are personal and hygiene products along with other consumables that are in short supply at refugee locations. The Education Department also accepts monetary gifts, which will be used to fill the trucks with most-needed items bought in bulk to supplement the community donations. Donations will be accepted until March 28.