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Idaho Ukrainian looking to raise funds to aid homeland

Sasha Barrett of Boise is looking for people to donate art pieces to raffle off and donate proceeds to a Ukrainian army aid fund.

BOISE, Idaho — As the Russian invasion continues in Ukraine, people all over the world feel compelled to help Ukrainians any way they can. For some Idahoans, that need to do something hits close to home.

"I really do think it's important, I think anything helps at this point," Boise artist Sasha Barrett said. 

Barrett is a Boise State University graduate with a Bachelor's Degree of Fine Arts in ceramics. He is originally from a northeast city in Ukraine, Sumy, and moved to the United States with his mother and step-father when he was 10 years old.

Barrett still has close friends and family in Ukraine and has been getting constant updates from them over the past few days. Some of his relatives are fighting at the frontlines to defend their country, while others have no working water, no way to purchase food and no drinks because stores are closed. 

"It's like a battle zone there," Barrett said. "So they're all just hiding. They have their shoes on and have their bags packed."

When Barrett speaks about Ukraine and the devastation unfolding, his mind goes directly to his grandparents, who just visited Boise only a few weeks ago.

"There was a lot of contemplation whether they should go back or not," Barrett said. They decided to do it, then three weeks later Russia invades Ukraine."

Barrett said he feels helpless hearing about what is happening to them while he is still in the U.S. 

"I feel terrible," Barrett said. "I mean my whole family is just in shock and really worried."

To try and help his family, other civilians and troops in Ukraine during this devastating time, Barrett is raising funds the best way he knows how - through his art.

Barrett said he is part of the clay and ceramics community and has been able to meet and work with people from all over the world. He is looking to his friends and other artists to donate their pieces for him to raffle off and send the proceeds to Save Life, an army aid fund in Ukraine.

"I feel that a lot of people want to support," Barrett said.

He and his partner have built a website, that will go live Saturday for people to purchase raffle tickets on the listed, donated artwork. The raffle will last seven days and the recipient will get notified and the artwork will be shipped or if local, picked up, according to Barrett. 

"I think with all war and with all organizations and movements, whenever there's an aid for the right cause, it finds its way to the person that needs it most," Barrett said.

For anyone looking to donate art pieces or get more information, Barrett can be reached by Instagram: @sashabarrettceramics or by email: sashaobarrett@gmail.com.

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