Local Rotarians donate 2,000 books to young Ukrainian refugees in Chicago


Refugees make up one-third of the students at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral's school in Ukrainian Village, Chicago. Photo: DiscoverWithDima

Local Rotary clubs, including Rockton-Roscoe Rotary, recently participated in a fundraising event that benefited two Chicago schools in Ukrainian Village.

Rotarians in Rockton and Roscoe are known for their civic contributions, such as the Great American Cleanup and the Rotary Rib Fest.

So when Rotarians attending the District 6420 conference in DeKalb on November 5 learned of the influx of Ukrainian refugee children in two Chicago schools, they sprang into action.

The result is that two schools in Ukrainian Village have received 1,000 new books each.

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Ukrainian Village in West Town, Chicago, dates back to the late 1800s. Chicago has the third largest concentration of Ukrainians in the country.

These Ukrainian Village neighborhood schools with pre-K to eighth grade age students have experienced nearly a 40% increase in enrollment from families fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Rotary Club members at the 2022-2023 District Conference donated $10,000 worth of new books.

Rockton-Roscoe Rotary Club member Melissa McCormick points out this all happened in only one day. "Rotarians truly are people of action."

Usborne Books and More matched their generosity with a gift of an additional $5,000 of new books, bringing the fundraising total to $15,000. This equated to 2,000 new books donated.

Rotary District 6420 and Rotary International leadership delivered 1,000 books (20 boxes) to each of the two schools on November 28.

"I am grateful for the generosity of our Rotary Club members who made this possible in a single day," said District 6420 Governor Laura Kann, Princeton, IL.

In addition to the Rockton-Roscoe club, Pecatonica, Belvidere, Loves Park, Rockford, Cherry Valley, and Freeport participated. The District 6420 conference includes 43 clubs in the Northern Central Illinois area.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that at St. Nicholas Cathedral School in Ukrainian Village, more than one-third of the children are Ukrainian refugees, with 65 enrolling in fall 2022 alone.

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