Chicago area residents continue to donate, raise money for Ukrainian refugees

Chicagoans are finding creative ways to support Ukraine during the war. 

On Wednesday, a group of local artists joined forces to sell their work for a cause.

"It says that people really want to support, they really want to be part of it," said Maksym Zakharchuk, organizer of ‘Art Can Save Lives.’

More than 5,000 miles from Ukraine, the desire to help is stronger than ever.

"I think when you live far, and when you have chances to do as much work as possible, even being far from the Ukraine, that’s all you can do," said Zakharchuk.

Ten talented local artists, on Wednesday, took part in the fundraiser, ‘Art Can Save Lives.’

Held at ROOF on theWit, the sold-out charity event organized by Zakharchuk will benefit two nonprofits – Help Razom and Help Heroes of Ukraine – dedicated to supporting the people of Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion of their country.  

"I decided to create, based on the art, something beautiful and valuable for the people back home," said Zakharchuk.

From Iran, one of the artists, Roya Karbakhsh knows the difficulties that come with starting over in a new country. 

She says her art represents her journey, and hopes that by donating it to the fundraiser, it can help Ukrainian refugees fleeing their own country.  

"I try to talk through my paintings, and tell everybody how it is difficult to escape your country," said Karbakhsh.


The charity art event was one of several efforts to help on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, volunteers with St. Bernadette Parish teamed up with members of the Evergreen Park Fire Department to load 600 boxes of medical and survival items onto a moving truck.

The aid boxes will be shipped to Poland for Ukrainian refugees.

In the last several weeks, the parish has raised $55,000 for further aid.

Also working to make a difference, Barbara Ryan of Rogers Park has been helping refugees get settled in the U.S. for nearly six years.

"They come in through an agency usually, and the agency gives them the basics, and we fill in the gaps," said Ryan.

Her ‘free store,’ as she calls it, is packed to the brim with clothes, kitchen and home items, personal hygiene products, cleaning supplies and more.

"Although you can see the mess here, it’s an organized mess, and they get what they need," said Ryan.

Ryan is currently helping Afghan refugees, but hopes to expand into a bigger location soon, with the ability to reach even more people – including the potential to assist Ukrainian refugees in the future.