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University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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News and Events
News and Events

Students organize bake sale to benefit Ukrainian refugees
April 20, 2022

Proceeds will be donated to three humanitarian organizations.

Events Global Initiatives Students

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By Danny Park

Close-up photo of baked goods

(Photo by Abraham Ramirez)

From April 18-21, Global Initiatives is hosting a bake sale fundraiser to benefit organizations supporting the 2.6 million Ukrainian refugees who have fled to Poland.

The fundraiser is spearheaded by student Natasha Hikita MA ’23, whose family in Poland is actively providing aid to refugees.

“I grew up listening to my beloved Babcia’s harrowing tales of survival in Poland during World War II, where she witnessed the most horrible human rights violations imaginable,” Hikita said. “During the war, she lost everything except for the dress on her back, which she wore for over two years. Nevertheless, she survived due to her resilient Polish spirit and strong faith. Although this conflict is on the other side of the world, it is important that we do something to ensure that history does not repeat itself.”

“Being part of this fundraiser has been a nice reminder of the kindness of people and everyone’s willingness to support displaced individuals during travesty,” said Global Initiatives OTD resident Brendan La Scala MA ’21, OTD ’22.

More than 25 Chan students are working together by baking cookies, cake pops and macarons, researching Polish humanitarian aid organizations and staffing the sale table in the Center for the Health Professions building. Riley McGuire MA ’21, OTD ’22 personally prepared more than 100 items.

“Over the past few years, I have often felt helpless in the face of our world’s problems,” McGuire said. “I have loved baking since I was a child and I bake when I am happy, sad, stressed and everything in between. I am grateful to be able to do something I love so much to support those in need.”

In just the first two days of the sale, Global Initiatives raised more than $800. (Editor’s update: more than $1500 was raised by the conclusion of the sale).

Photo of four people sitting at bake sale table

From left to right, Riley McGuire, Brendan La Scala, Danny Park and Yeyang Tang (Photo by Abraham Ramirez)

“I donated to support the communities in Ukraine who are in dire need of our help,” said Christelli Carmona MA ’23. “As OT students, we learn that mental health plays a significant role in one’s overall well-being, and I hope to empower and support the mental wellbeing of children who have unfortunately witnessed the war in Ukraine by donating to the Voices of Children Foundation.”

This fundraiser is supporting three humanitarian organizations: Polish Humanitarian Action, Polish Migration Forum Foundation and Voices of Children Foundation.

Baked goods are being sold for $3 and direct donations can also be made to the organizations at their respective websites.