CHICAGO (CBS) — Dozens of supporters attended a benefit concert in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village neighborhood Friday night to help people in war-torn Ukraine.
As CBS 2’s Jackie Kostek reported Friday night, the Ukrainian National Museum, 2249 W. Superior St., kept its doors open late into the evening to bring people together around music and art.
For many in the museum on Friday night, the war in Ukraine is hitting hard. And while they said being 5,000 miles away can be excruciating at times, a night of sorts like they celebrated on Friday can bring hope.
“It’s a really desperate, desperate kind of pain that stares at you all day for weeks,” Dmitriy Ostrovskiy said.
From the day Russia invaded Ukraine, Ostrovskiy has found the only way to ease the pain of seeing his homeland under siege is to help.
“I gave money,” Ostrovskiy said. “I collected supplies. I personally delivered these supplies to Ukraine.”
This week, he opened his home to a young Ukrainian refugee.
“She needed a place to stay, and I offered my house with my wife to stay with us for as long as it takes to settle into her new life here,” Ostrovskiy said.
In the Ukrainian village, an already strong community of people with ties to the country grow stronger in the shared experience of watching the war unfold from afar – and fearing for their loved ones.
Nazarii Lernatovych says his brother has been fighting with the Ukrainian army since day one.
“The first two days it was crazy because he didn’t text us at all. I was like, OK, I don’t know what’s happening to him.” He didn’t text us. I don’t know if he’s still alive, you know?” Lernatovych said. “Right now I live to read his messages, if he’s okay.”
While Lernatovych waited for updates, he planned Friday night events – musicians playing, artwork for sale – with all the money raised directly to support the Ukrainian military.
“Ukraine is the first line of democracy between Russia and the free world, so Ukraine is fighting against Russia for the whole world right now,” Lernatovych said.
And those who gathered Friday night may be 5,000 miles away, but they’re doing all they can to help.
Organizers said all the money raised Friday night will go towards night vision drones, medical supplies and new vehicles for the Ukrainian military. Fundraising efforts will continue at Sts. Volodymyr and Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church across the street at 739 N. Oakley Blvd., which will host a craft fair on Sunday, April 10.