By Patrick Galeher ‘22

On Wednesday, March 30, the Brother Rice student council collaborated with the Saint Xavier football team and Evergreen Park fire department in gathering supplies for Ukrainian refugees. The volunteers met at St. Bernadette Parish to load supplies onto a semi-truck. This truck was then sent to the airport for direct delivery to the people of Ukraine.

Unfortunately, it began to rain when the volunteers arrived. This did not stop them from helping load the truck. Although the rain made the boxes slightly harder to carry, the truck was still successfully loaded.

St. Bernadette´s Rev. Benedykt Pazdan was born and raised just 60 miles from the Ukrainian border. He said, “The majority of my family is still there and when the war broke out, it broke my heart to see so much suffering and pain.”

And that’s why the pastor, who moved from Poland in 2001, led the effort to collect and pack about 600 boxes filled with items like diapers, shampoo, and toothpaste, for refugees now in Poland. Fr. Pazdan says while he’s encouraged the community to pray for peace in Ukraine, he also wanted to do something concrete by helping those in need with their daily needs.

When interviewed by WGN, junior Joey Heilman said, “I just can’t imagine living in Ukraine right now being invaded by another country. It’s tragic seeing all of your loved ones, say, if they’re injured, everything you worked for being taken away it’s just tragic so anything we could do to help is just great.”

Jourdan Loving, a student at St. Xavier University, said, “It feels good to help others you know I know that they’re struggling over there, so we had time today, so why not go out there and try to help others.”

On top of loading the supplies onto the truck, St. Bernadette Parish has collaborated with another parish to collect more than $130,000 for the refugees. It’s always good seeing Crusaders helping out the community, especially at a global level. Hopefully, this can motivate more students to lend a helping hand.