Chicago school provides warm welcome for Ukrainian refugees

A Chicago school is receiving refugees from Ukraine with open arms.

Families left their homes and traveled here with barely anything, but in Ukrainian Village, there’s no shortage of generosity.

Donations for Ukrainian refugees are accumulating and being distributed at St. Nicholas Cathedral School, 2200 W. Rice St.


Principal Anna Cirrily greeted visitors on Monday.

"We're getting a lot of calls," Cirrily said. "They'll call and say ‘can we donate?’ It’s kids reaching out to kids, that's what's so cool."

A 9-year old Chicago boy sent his mom to deliver care packages. 

Sara Morganthaler said they regularly buy things to donate but when her son saw what was happening, they knew they wanted Ukrainian children to receive their packages. 

They filled with the packages with "all his favorites stuff, Legos, hot wheels, things he enjoys and what he thought these kiddos would love as well," she said.

Students are in charge of the surplus of donations. No one knows better what will comfort their new Ukrainian friends. Seventeen refugee children will start school here.

Families arrive from Ukraine, traumatized and overwhelmed. The students make it easier.

"Maybe talking to adult could be scarier than talking to a kid who is trying to welcome them into the community," seventh grader Elle Brenner said, 

Kids guided a Ukrainian mother through their supplies, picking clothing, toiletries and toys for her two boys.

"The smile I saw on the mother's face made me feel happy. I can imagine she wants to give her children the world and this is helping her feel better," seventh grader Emma Engwall said.

Children ended up in Chicago without their parents or big brothers, who stayed in Ukraine. The team mascot of St. Nicholas Cathedral School is The Guardians, and they mean it. 

The school is prepared to receive up to 50 students from Ukraine.