Stuyvesant’s Ukrainian Aid Committee Hosts Bake Sale for Victims of the War in Ukraine
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To support victims of the war in Ukraine, Stuyvesant’s Ukrainian Aid Committee held a bake sale on May 24 and May 25 from periods four to 10 in front of the scanners on the second floor. During the sale, classic Eastern European cookies and other treats were sold. Some of these treats included Zeffo cakes, bird’s milk with chocolate or lemon flavor, sandwich cookies with blueberry cream, coconut macaroons, cranberry zefir, cupcakes, chocolate-covered cookies with raspberry jelly, and jelly orange slices.
Along with the committee, Director of Family Engagement and Business Manager Dina Ingram, social studies teacher Matt Polazzo, and organizations both inside and outside of school helped to organize the event. “We collaborated with Key Club who aided in getting volunteers for the event,” junior and secretary of the Ukrainian Aid Committee Yvette Shteynfeld said. “The items for the event were made through an arrangement with a company called NetCost. There was also much help from Parent Association volunteers.”
However, staff members give much of the credit for the bake sale to members of the Ukrainian Aid Committee. “I mostly just facilitated. [Shteynfeld] found a vendor and also knew exactly what she wanted to order. I just placed the orders and kept the food in my office until it was sold,” Polazzo said.
One of these members is sophomore Lourdes Kretsula, founder of the committee, who has a personal reason for creating the club as well as managing the bake sale. Her main motive for holding this fundraiser involved looking back at her heritage. “I decided to organize this bake sale because the state of Ukraine right now during this catastrophic war is very near and dear to my heart, as my parents immigrated from Ukraine to America about 20 years ago,” Kretsula said.
Due to the desperate state of Ukraine, other events like clothing and food drives have also been held by the Ukrainian Aid Committee. Organizers started this bake sale intending to collect funds for medical supplies to send to victims of the war raging in Ukraine. “The funds raised will be used to purchase first aid kits for Ukrainian medical facilities, which are lacking resources due to the current war,” Shteynfeld said. “Items in the kits are meant to address wounds and provide quick patient care. They will be delivered directly there by the Hope for Ukraine organization which we collaborated with for the clothing and canned food drive earlier this year.”
Members of the committee put great effort into promoting the bake sale. “We reached out to the Student Union to include the announcement of the sale in the Sunday night weekly e-mail, and to Ingram for the weekly update newsletter,” Shteynfeld said. “There were several morning announcements made about the event and we put up posters around the school.”
Overall, members of the committee feel satisfied with the outcome of the bake sale. There were about 15 volunteers over the two days, and each of these volunteers put money and care into the cause. Seeing this sense of compassion throughout the school body was what Kretsula appreciated most. “My favorite part of the sale was seeing how some even made direct donations without purchasing anything, which to me, proved the shared empathy others have for Ukraine during this time through their willingness to contribute. We sold basically everything, and in general, the sales exceeded our expectations,” Kretsula said.
Polazzo agrees with this sentiment and feels extremely proud of students’ efforts. “After covering the costs of the food, the drive raised a bit more than $200. That money was used to buy first aid kits to be sent to Ukraine,” Polazzo said. “I was just glad that a group of kids were able to make a difference—no matter how small.”
As the war in Ukraine rages on, the committee is still planning other projects to support victims of the war in need. “We definitely are planning to do more events, but the details are still uncertain,” Shteynfeld said. “There’s a possibility for more donation events, but focused on health supplies in the near future or more likely once we return to school in the fall. It would also be great if we could work on more outreach and find new means to help, such as working with refugees who have come to the United States to help them become more accustomed and to address their needs.”
During this dire time of need, members of the committee highly encourage students to participate in the Ukrainian Aid Committee to promote support for Ukraine. “It’s important that this club receives more membership to extend our capabilities as a committee for future projects,” Shteynfeld said. “We are looking for members of all backgrounds. They don’t need any connection to Ukraine or have Ukrainian heritage—only an interest in contributing.”