TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — As Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine, many in Vigo County are lending a helping hand to those who need it most.
Groups and businesses pitching in include Baesler’s Market, 12 Points Revitalization Group and Indiana State University. ISU students and faculty are partnering with Razom, a non-governmental organization that provides medical aid for Ukrainians.
Brittney Storms, a doctor with the ISU’s physical therapy program, said for every $1000 raised, she will dye a strand of her own hair blue.
“Its concerning, its a ticking time bomb,” Storms said. “I mean, we just don’t know. So I guess fear and concern.”
After Russia’s initial invasion of Ukraine, Storms said she knew she had to help. ISU’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program is collecting monetary donations through Venmo and at a drop-off location at 567 North 5th Street. Proceeds will fund medical care and supplies for Ukrainians.
Phase one of the fundraiser entails raising money until March 29, with a total goal of $50,000 by April. Storms said she plans to host a bike-a-thon as well as a fundraising challenge with other physical therapy schools across Indiana.
“What I think is really going to hit home is look at us being small-town USA, helping out small-town Ukraine,” Storms said. “People are people no matter who you are or what you are.”
For Haily Rayburn, this comes with a personal connection. A friend of hers who studied in Indiana lived in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv prior to the invasion. That friend and her husband safely escaped, but Rayburn said she knows the battle continues.
“This is more personal for me because I can get on social media and see what they post about all the things they’re going through,” Rayburn said. “So, it’s really driven me to go above and beyond to try to get donations.”
In addition to ISU’s efforts, Baesler’s is donating 50 percent of its profits from the sunflower collection to UNICEF. The 12 Points Revitalization Group will be collecting funds during a money drive on Thursday, March 10.
“Hoosier hospitality really comes into play with this,” Rayburn said. “We see someone in need ,and we’re going to give the quarter we have just to help them in anyway we can.”
For those wanting to donate to ISU’s Physical Therapy program fundraiser for Ukraine, you can Venmo Dr. Storms or the ISU DPT Staff at the username @Jimmie-Storms.
Additionally, the 12 Points Revitalization Group’s donation drive will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. this Thursday in the old CVS parking lot in the 12 Points Neighborhood. The address is 1320 Maple Avenue. Monetary donations are being accepted and funds raised will go to the “Save the Children of Ukraine” organization.