'Moral obligation.' Student to spend spring break bringing donations to Ukrainian refugees in Romania
A Stony Brook University sophomore will be spending his spring break trying to help Ukrainian refugees.
Russia's continued bombing of residential areas across Ukraine has forced more than 2 million people to flee the country.
Seeing this happening was a shock to Thomas Brinkley, and he is doing what he can to help.
He already has organized a supply drive to collect blankets, diapers, powdered milk and toiletries for refugees from the war.
Next, he is planning to bring those donations to Bucharest, Romania.
"Rather than stay home and do nothing, I figure I can take some action," Brinkley says.
One of the largest shelters for Ukrainian refugees is the Romexpo arena in Romania.
Volunteers are setting up cots, baby items and other supplies for as many as 2,000 refugees.
In Stony Brook, some students are dealing with their one family dealing with what is happening in Ukraine.
Maria Zozulya donated canned goods to Brinkley's supply drive. She has two aunts in Ukraine.
"She has been staying in her bathroom every time the airstrikes happen," Zozulya said about one of her aunts. "She just hides in her bathroom and hopes for the best."
Other students at the Stony Brook campus also are donating items and spreading awareness about the war in Ukraine.
Brinkley is planning to meet with his father at the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest and work together to distribute the donations.
"I have this unique opportunity where I can truly provide direct relief to those in need and you know, it would be my moral obligation to do so," Brinkley says.
Brinkley is working with members of the American International School in the relief effort.
The proposal still has to go before the City Council where residents would be able to review formal plans and offer input before it is voted on.
The city also has to approve a vendor and amend city code to add paid parking.