Sending Help Where It’s Most Needed
Klaudia Ćwiękała-Lewis, Ph.D. of the Stabler Department of Nursing and her students put training into action to support Ukrainian refugees on the Polish border.
Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday, February 24, 2022. By Friday afternoon, Professor Klaudia Ćwiękała-Lewis began brainstorming with her students for ways they could help the Ukrainian people.
“I was born and raised in Poland,” Professor Lewis says. “These events are very close to my heart. I’m also a public health nurse, so anything that includes population health is very close to my heart.”
Lewis, an Associate Professor of Nursing, saw the war as an opportunity for her students to learn about organizing and helping on a global scale.
A Poland connection
Only three months earlier, the Stabler Department of Nursing at York College of Pennsylvania had entered into a partnership with the State University of Applied Sciences in Włocławek, Poland, one of a network of vocational and community college-style universities throughout the country. The State University was connected with another Polish university only 30 minutes from the Ukrainian border, where they were opening a shelter for Ukrainian refugees.
The State University sent Professor Lewis a list of items needed at the shelter. She and her students, after some trial and error, set up an Amazon registry listing those items.
“We’ve had some roadblocks, like any new initiative, with this distance,” she says, “but we’re working out the kinks.”
Professor Lewis discovered that the fastest and cheapest way to get items where they are needed is to order through Polish Amazon. Goods are delivered directly to the partner university in Włocławek, where students and faculty unpack, organize, and load everything into a van. They make a bi-weekly 10½-hour drive to the shelter near the Ukrainian border.
“Helping is the human thing to do,” Professor Lewis says. “I want to teach my students that nursing is not only about the bedside. It’s a serving profession.”
Professor Lewis also has set up GoFundMe and Venmo accounts for monetary donations and is accepting checks to help with the purchase of items through Polish Amazon. This has proved the most effective method, saving donors the shipping fee they pay when ordering from their own Amazon accounts.
No end in sight
Even after the war ends, Professor Lewis plans to continue the project until Ukrainian refugees no longer need help.
“The refugees are still going to be there, even if the war stops tomorrow,” she says. “There are over a million Ukrainian refugees in Poland now. They’re trying to evacuate whole orphanages from Ukraine. All of those items are not going to get wasted. The need is still going to be there.”
She encourages those who want to help to make sure they donate to a trusted source.
“If you are willing to help, help; but help in an organized way,” she says. “Make sure the stuff you’re donating is going to a valid person and the money you’re sending is really going to people needing it the most.”
Here is how you can help
Money for purchase of items on Polish Amazon can be donated using the methods below.
Checks can be sent to:
Dr. Klaudia Lewis
York College of Pennsylvania
441 Country Club Road, York, PA 17403
US Amazon Registry
Items ordered through the registry will be shipped directly to Poland. Please limit orders to $150 so Poland does not incur taxes on the items. Find the registry Dr. Lewis set up at:
Please choose this shipping address for the items:
Beata Haor at Instytut Nauk o Zdowiu, Obroncow Wisly 1920r., Wloclawek, 87-800, Poland