Fordham’s student veterans are organizing a University-wide donation drive for Ukrainian refugees from March 9 to 31.
“From a veteran’s perspective, many of us saw and witnessed over the last 20 years how our war in Afghanistan ended. There are a lot of veterans who feel a similar level of understanding and anxiety that the war in Ukraine is causing, and they want to give back to the community,” said Matthew Butler, director of Fordham’s military and veterans’ services. “This particular group of student veterans has been more mindful and engaged about giving back to their community now that we’re back on campus … They are leading the charge.”
The idea for the donation drive came from Miguel Pinto, an MBA student in the Gabelli School of Business and vice president of graduate relations for the Fordham chapter of Student Veterans of America.
“It’s hard to turn away from the TV with the images we’re seeing right now. We want to help through a group effort,” said Pinto, who served in the U.S. Navy from 2011 to 2015 and is currently serving as a logistics officer in the Marine Corps. “A lot of this is also personal. We have students who are Ukrainian, like an ROTC student who recently reached out to us to help with the donation efforts, and students who have family in Ukraine. This gives them an opportunity to be involved.”
Until the end of this month, the Office of Military and Veterans’ Services is collecting donation items from the Fordham community. There are four collection bins that are accepting the following items: yellow heavy-duty tape, AA/AAA batteries, headlamps, sterile saline wipes/antibacterial wipes, band-aids/gauze for wounds, elastic bandages and regular bandages, occlusive dressing for wounds, betadine, quick meals, energy bars, water purification tablets, small canned foods that can be easily opened, individually packed nuts or cookies, cotton socks, men’s underwear and T-shirts, men’s heavy-duty gloves, baby diapers, and baby formula.
The collection bins are located at four different spots across Fordham’s campuses:
PCS Office at Rose Hill (118 Keating Hall)
Lincoln Center Veterans Center (Room 145 – 140 W. 62nd St.)
Joseph A. Martino Hall (Second-floor lunchroom – 45 Columbus Ave.)
Westchester Campus: (Main lobby – 400 Westchester Ave., West Harrison, N.Y.)
The donations will be transported to Veselka, a favorite NYC Ukrainian restaurant in the East Village, which has partnered with a third-party organization to send the items to Ukrainians in need.
The Fordham chapter of Student Veterans of America is organizing its members to spread the word and help with logistics and human power. Pinto thanked other members of the Fordham community who are supporting this initiative, including Fordham USG at Lincoln Center and Rose Hill, the student Campus Activities Board, Campus Ministry, the Office for Student Involvement at both campuses, PCS assistant administrator Antoinette Zappier, and PCS academic operations administrator and adjunct professor Grant Grastorf.
“We want to show people that no matter where you are, you can still show your support,” said Damian Grady, a U.S. Navy veteran and PCS student who serves as president of the Fordham chapter of Student Veterans of America. “We can’t physically go to Ukraine, but in a time of need, we are still here to answer that call.”