Ukraine-Russia War: Chicago prepares to welcome Ukrainian refugees

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago organizations, schools and families are preparing to welcome more refugees from Ukraine.

Just this week, St. Nicholas Cathedral School in the city's Ukrainian Village neighborhood has received three new Ukrainian students, all fleeing the war with Russia with their families. The school now has 16 Ukrainian students in total.

People have been generous, and donations are arriving daily.

"School supplies, toys for the students; we've been overwhelmed by the support from all corners of the United States of America," said Anna Cirilli, principal.

Some of the support comes from the Selfreliance Fund, which is part of the Selfreliance Federal Credit Union. The fund has now partnered with other local organizations to create a task force to help new arrivals from Ukraine.

"It's a very personal, emotional cause for everybody and I think it helps that we have one central community and we are in a position to help whatever way we can," said Miroslav Shchurevich, vice president of Selfreliance Federal Credit Union.

President Joe Biden announced Thursday the U.S. is likely to receive 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. Mayor Lori Lightfoot says preparations to receive them in Chicago are already underway.

"We all need to step up to do what we can to shoulder this incredible responsibility so those who can fight in Ukraine and are able to know that their loved ones are being taken care of," she said.

JCFS Chicago has been assisting dozens of Afghan families who fled to the U.S., and are expecting to do the same for Ukrainians.

"We are looking for cosponsors who are willing to partner with us to be able to furnish the apartment and to provide tutoring, mentoring, be a general resource of helping people get used to Chicago," said Kathleen Gerhold, JCFS Chicago senior vice president.

For those with a connection to Ukraine or anyone who wishes to assist, there are and will be opportunities to welcome families seeking sanctuary in our area.

How you can help Ukrainians coming to Chicago

St. Nicholas Cathedral School is asking donations be made through either Amazon or Big Shoulders instead of dropping items off at the school.

St. Nicholas Cathedral School Amazon wishlist

St. Nicholas Cathedral School Big Shoulders page

JCFS Chicago donations page

Selfreliance Fund
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