Carle Illinois Students launch Ukrainian Refugee Relief Project, collecting aid supplies

March 2, 2022

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Carle Illinois College of Medicine students are working to send aid to Ukrainian refugees in Poland. The students are launching a medical and physical goods supply drive to get additional aid to the region and seeking help from the community.

“This may be one of the defining events of our generation. These people need help, and the things they need are things many of us have lying around our homes. We all have the ability to make a difference in this crisis,” Dylan Mann, a fourth-year medical student and co-lead on the relief project.

The Carle Illinois students are partnering with Global Empowerment Mission to send physical goods to their allied partners in Poland and Ukraine.  A list of supplies needed by refugees is below.

The Carle Illinois student’s Ukrainian refugee supply drive kicks off Saturday, March 5, from noon to 5 p.m. The event will be held at the UIUC Alma Mater located at the corner of Wright St. and Green St. in Urbana, IL.

Medical and physical supplies will be collected through March 19 at the Carle Illinois College of Medicine Medical Sciences Building located at 506 S. Mathews Avenue, Urbana, IL, 61801. Additional drop-off locations also include:

This Ukrainian Relief project is deeply personal for two students organizing the drive.  First-year medical

Kaden Rawson
Kaden Rawson

student Kaden Rawson spent two years working with Ukrainian refugees in Western Siberia and the Ural Mountain region from 2015-2017.

Rawson taught English and volunteered with community organizations on a variety of projects (gardening, hospice work, construction, etc.). He also spent time supporting Ukrainian refugees who were previously displaced from Donetsk, Ukraine, during the insurgency fighting that lasted from 2014-now. Many of these refugees had their homes and workplaces destroyed by rebel forces.

“I grew to love and appreciate the people of Russia and Ukraine while working in various humanitarian capacities. It breaks my heart to see these same people now at war,” Rawson said. “I was continually inspired by the resilience of the refugees I met. Even though they were subjected to conditions far beyond their control, they remained hopeful for a better future. One day at a time, they worked hard to rebuild their lives in the face of staunch opposition.”

Now that the refugee crisis has escalated to an even greater degree, Rawson feels an amplified sense of duty to serve the people who mean so much to him. “I think I can speak for many of us when I say that I felt utterly helpless at the onset of the Russian attack. I was dying to know what I could do from thousands of miles away. When the students at Carle Illinois started to plan this relief project, my sense of helplessness was replaced with empowerment. As a community, we can do something. This is our chance to act,” Rawson emphasized.

Michael Pozin
Michael Pozin

First-year medical student Michael Pozin is of Ukrainian heritage and is also helping lead the relief project.  His family immigrated to the United States from Kyiv, Ukraine, just before the fall of the Soviet Union. Many of his friends and acquaintances are now refugees or under siege.

“As someone with a long family history in Ukraine, the attack overseas feels very personal to me. The insecurity that Ukraine faces today is the very same insecurity and fear that drove my family to leave over 3 decades ago,” Pozin explained. “Although as a medical student I cannot do much to change the political climate, I hope that through partnering with Global Empowerment Mission I can provide some relief or at least raise awareness of the rapidly evolving refugee crisis overseas.”

Students are also working to generate awareness about where people can donate financially.  The students are encouraging the public to donate directly to the International Red Cross Committee, Ukraine Crisis donation page and the Ukrainian Government.

“Please scour your closets, garages, and attics for any of the items on this list. Every piece of equipment that we gather will be used to provide comfort and relief to people who desperately need it,” Rawson said.

Carle Illinois students will not collect financial donations. Medical students are focusing their efforts on collecting supplies and raising awareness of opportunities to directly donate to organizations already assisting the refugee crisis.

Questions regarding the Ukrainian Refugee Relief Project organized by Carle Illinois College of Medicine students can be directed to:

Kaden Rawson:

Medical and Physical Goods Supply Request List from Global Empowerment Mission

Items for Ukraine:

  • Baby Supplies
  • Food (no glass jars)
  • Diapers
  • Cereals
  • Baby bottles
  • Wipes
  • Non-perishable foods
  • Canned meats
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned fruits
  • Ramen noodles
  • Cereals
  • Microwavable, non-freezer foods
  • Oatmeal
  • Grits
  • Protein bars
  • Can openers
  • Hygiene items
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Razors
  • Shaving cream
  • Deodorant
  • Moisturizers
  • Personal supplies
  • Backpacks
  • Suitcase
  • Medical supplies
  • Over-the-counter:
  • Advil (Ibuprofen), Tylenol (Acetaminophen), aspirin, cold and flu, etc.
  • Survival Kits
  • Blankets
  • Sleeping bags
  • Tents
  • Solar chargers
  • Emergency whistles
  • Emergency horns
  • Elbow and knee pads
  • Bull horn
  • Camping stove
  • Fire starter material
  • Bungee cords
  • Headlamps
  • Helmets
  • Eye protection



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This story was published March 2, 2022.