Since starting his GoFundMe campaign in December, New York broadcast engineer Paul Thurst has raised more than $1,300 to send portable radios to war-torn Ukraine.
“In this high tech world with all of the many media choices available, when all else fails, radio is still there,” wrote Thurst in a December Radio World story. “That is true here and it is true in Ukraine as well. With that in mind, we reached out to someone who is working for an aide organization and asked if small battery-powered radios would be helpful. The answer was an enthusiastic YES!”
Now, the money raised has allowed Thurst to send 80 radios to Ukraine, with another 40 units on the way. Each radio will be distributed with two changes of batteries, which is expected to provide roughly 2,400 hours of listening time.
Each portable radio costs about $12, plus shipping. On his GoFundMe page, Thurst said he is looking to raise $10,000, which he says should purchase about 740-770 radios to be shipped to Poland, driven across the border and distributed with weekly food aid and other supplies.
Thurst said the radios are especially helpful in smaller settlements and rural areas where power restoration may take some time.
“These [80 radios] have been distributed to mostly older folks living in villages,” he said. “We also sent along two Tecsun PL 330 AM/FM/LW/SW receivers for the medical volunteers operating in Eastern Ukraine.”
Below is a video shared with Radio World by Thurst showing aid workers in Ukraine distributing food and portable radios to elderly people in the villages. It was filmed in the areas north of Kyiv which were de-occupied.