FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP — A teacher in the Freehold Township K-8 School District who is of Ukranian heritage has initiated a fundraiser to assist that nation while it is at war with Russia.
Armed forces from Russia, which borders Ukraine, invaded the nation in late February.
Michelle Sica, who is a second grade teacher at the Marshall W. Errickson Elementary School, started the “Stand with Ukraine” fundraiser at the St. Demetrius Ukranian Orthodox Cathedral, Carteret, where she is a parishioner.
Donations from the Errickson school reached $683 and an additional $217 was raised from the rest of the Freehold Township school district to total $900.
The money was sent through the Ukranian Orthodox Church of the USA to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine, according to Sica, who said she was inspired to start the fundraiser for its humanitarian goals and because her great-grandparents grew up in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.
“I was inspired to support the people of Ukraine in some way through this tragedy and at the same time honor my heritage,” she said. “I cherish the many stories my grandmother and mother told me about their life in Ukraine.”
As part of the fundraiser, faculty members at the Errickson school were encouraged to wear blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukranian flag.
Sica expressed gratitude for the support shown to the fundraiser and to Ukraine.
“With the war raging in Ukraine, affecting so many lives, the least we could do is show our support, especially when it hits so close to home for me and my Ukrainian family,” Sica said. “I am extremely proud and grateful to work in such an incredible district with generous, caring and supportive individuals.
“I want to express my appreciation for all of the ‘Stand with Ukraine’ donations. There is no donation too small to help aid Ukraine in its fight,” she said.
In addition to monetary donations, the St. Demetrius Ukranian Orthodox Cathedral in Carteret, Middlesex County, is collecting supplies that will be sent to refugee camps. Donations of diapers, baby formula, first aid kits, bandages, socks, thermal underwear, flashlights, gloves, powder and fever-reducing medications are needed.