Illinois Broadcasters, UNICEF host all-day fundraiser to provide help for Ukraine

ByMark Rivera and Maher Kawash via WLS logo
Thursday, April 14, 2022
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An all-day fundraiser at the Ukrainian Museum of Modern Art in Chicago by Illinois Broadcasters raised more than $125,000 for UNICEF's work in Ukraine.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- You've seen it at the end of our stories covering the crisis in Ukraine all week -- a call to action to donate to UNICEF.

Illinois Broadcasters have partnered with the humanitarian organization with a goal of raising $150,000. By the end of the day, this fundraising effort had brought in more than $125,000.

Millions of children and mothers are facing a fearful fate as they are forced to flee their homes in Ukraine.

Now, Illinois Broadcasters, including ABC7 Chicago, are working with your support to help.

"We're so grateful to what the Illinois Broadcast Association is doing in their support for UNICEF to really highlight the dire needs of children right now in the region," said Nelly Ingraham, UNICEF USA director of philanthropy for the Midwest.

Direct aid to hospitals caring for children who can't leave, mobile school supplies, safe water, healthcare, nutrition and protection are just some of what UNICEF is working to bring women and children who are leaving Ukraine and on desperate journeys into the unknown.

The money helps create migration centers for refugees trying to flee to safer countries.

RELATED: Illinois broadcasters team up for Illinois Helps Ukraine fundraiser for Ukraine war victims

"Here and now we are safe, but our relatives, our men who support Ukraine, who defend Ukraine are there now. Don't forget about this and please support now," said Rokosoliana, whose family relocated from Kyiv to Chicago just a few weeks ago.

"In this war, in every war, children are the first to suffer and the ones to suffer the most," Ingraham added.

WATCH: St. Nicholas teacher Matt Hahn speaks on Ukraine fundraiser

"More than 50% of kids have been forced from their home and so, any support that we can lend from Illinois is going to make a massive, massive difference to them," said Beth McCostlin, managing director for UNICEF USA. "These tents are set up to be a safe space for moms and kids to land, to check in for more information, to figure out where they're headed next."

The all-day fundraiser was held at the Ukrainian Museum of Modern Art in Chicago's Ukrainian Village.

"They are traumatized, they are wounded, they are even killed," said Motria Melnyk, president of the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art.

"We need to come together and do everything possible. Having empathy and sympathy is one thing, but action is needed and I think that's what today is all about," said Fay Ferguson, co-CEO of Burrell Communications Group.

WATCH: Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art president discusses fundraiser

RELATED: How to help Ukraine amid Russian attacks

Some of the refugees have ended up in Chicago. St. Nicholas Catholic Middle School in Ukrainian Village has 40 refugee students now enrolled.

"It's been a challenge, but it's been made easier through the generosity of so many people throughout Chicago and throughout the country with various efforts like we're seeing today," teacher Matt Hahn said.

Their classmates are helping them adjust to their new temporary lives as they anxiously await good news from loved ones still stuck in Ukraine.

"Most of the refugees are young women with children, or grandmothers helping their grandchildren, and the work of UNICEF is just incredible." said Marta Farion, vice president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America. "There's no way Ukrainians are going to give up. They'll fight to the end."

It's that giving Chicago spirit that will set this apart.

"It just shows that the Illinois broadcasters -- you're committed to public service," said Steve Robinson, organizer and president of New Media Productions.

"It means the world to us to have the support of our fellow Illinoisans to make a difference for kids, too," McCostlin said. "There are people who are reaching out and helping children they may never meet... and supporting programs they may never see but just are truly bothered by the injustices happening right now.

There were also more signs of unity among nations across the globe Wednesday, as the Great Britain minister of state for Europe and North America made their partnership with Ukraine clear.

"You have friends, you have many friends, and we want to make sure that that friendship is not just theoretical but is meaningful," James Cleverly said.