Cicero and Clergy Committee Step In to Help Ukrainian Refugees – Town of Cicero, IL

Reverend Peter Ivanov, pastor of Berwyn Ukrainian Baptist Church, joined Ismael Vargas and members of the Clergy Committee to address the Cicero Town Board meeting on Tuesday, April 12. and detail plans to help refugees from Ukraine. Photo courtesy of Gerardo Lopez

City President Larry Dominick, the Cicero City Board of Directors, and the Cicero Clergy Committee are working with two organizations to help refugees fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Business Licensing Director Ismael Vargas, who is also chairman of the clergy committee and city chaplain, is preparing to join an international delegation of volunteers who will soon travel to Krakow, Poland, to work with refugees at the Ukrainian border. .

Vargas, with the support of President Dominick, the Cicero community network and the city council, is also urging residents to donate hygiene items to support a campaign by the Ukrainian Baptist Church of Berwyn to help the growing crisis of refugees along the Ukrainian border.

“As a community, the City of Cicero has always been eager to help those in need, not only here in our community, but also around the world. It doesn’t take anything away from our community when we help people overseas,” Vargas explained.

Reverend Peter Ivanov, pastor of Berwyn Ukrainian Baptist Church, joined Ismael Vargas and members of the Clergy Committee to address the Cicero Town Board meeting on Tuesday, April 12. and detail plans to help refugees from Ukraine.  Photo courtesy of Gerardo Lopez
Reverend Peter Ivanov, pastor of Berwyn Ukrainian Baptist Church, joined Ismael Vargas and members of the Clergy Committee to address the Cicero Town Board meeting on Tuesday, April 12. and detail plans to help refugees from Ukraine. Photo courtesy of Gerardo Lopez

“When we learned that the Ukrainian Baptist Church in Berwyn was organizing a fundraiser to help Ukrainian refugees, we contacted them. They are our neighbours. We asked the pastor what we could do to help and he was very happy that Cicero was involved.

Joining Vargas and members of the clergy committee, Reverend Peter Ivanov, pastor of the Berwyn Ukrainian Baptist Church, addressed the Cicero town board meeting on Tuesday, April 12 detailing their plans and asked the community for help. Several members of the Cicero Clergy Committee representing churches and local organizations also participated and are supporting the donation drive.

“We are worried about the war because many of our relatives live in Ukraine. I come from a town about 100 miles from kyiv. I came to the United States in 1994 and worked 15 years at West Suburban Hospital in the operating room doing surgery,” Pastor Ivanov said.

“Many cities have been destroyed. Many people were killed. And many more need help. So anything the public can do to help us help refugees and Ukrainians is welcome. »

Ivanov said they already have over $35,000 for Ukraine and sent 10 missionaries to work in Ukraine where there is a need. Pastor Ivanov said people can bring items to the Cicero PSO city building or directly to the church.

Items in need can be brought directly to the Ukrainian Baptist Church at 6751 Riverside Drive., or they can be brought to the Cicero Public Safety Office Building at 5410 W. 34th Street. The PSO building will accept donations until May 31, Vargas said.

Vargas said the Ukrainian Baptist Church is asking the public to donate specific hygiene products to help Ukrainian victims of Russian aggression and war. The volunteer committee is looking for specific products including articles for children and babies and hygiene articles for families.

The list of items requested meets the health and hygiene needs of refugees, but also of very young children who are most traumatized by Russian violence. Items sought include:

Items for children and babies:

• New clothes for babies and children
• New underwear
• teething rings
• baby and toddler food
• infant formula (powder)
• Baby wipes
• Diaper ointment based on zinc oxide
• Teething gel
• Mylicon drops for colic relief
• Layers (all sizes)
• No toys

Health and Hygiene Items:

• Adult size diapers
• Feminine products (pads, tampons)
• Hairbrushes/combs
• toothpaste
• soap and body wash
• shampoo and conditioner
• deodorants
• razors
• body wipes
• menstrual pads

Vargas, with the support of President Dominick, has volunteered on several occasions to help those in need in disaster areas, including in September 2017 when he traveled to Puerto Rico to help victims of the devastation. of Hurricane Maria, and in Mexico to help the victims of the earthquake which killed 98 people and injured thousands.

Vargas said he volunteers with the organization called Crises Response International (CRI) which helps people in need around the world.

“I have been volunteering with CRI since 2014, personally helping where help is needed,” Vargas said.

“Today the humanitarian need in Ukraine is urgent and the refugees need help.”

Vargas will spend 12 days along the Polish-Ukrainian border from April 26 to May with CRI to help refugees. CRI’s campaign on the Polish-Ukrainian border is called “Operation Ancient Gate: Wave 9”. CRI provides emergency relief, medical aid and medical support to victims around the world.

“We are very proud of the work Ismael Vargas is doing here in Cicero and around the world to help people,” said President Dominick.

“We urge those who have the capacity to help refugees to give as much as they can.

If anyone has any questions about the campaign, they can contact Ismael Vargas via email at [email protected]

Click on this link to view the video or use the widget below to view the video presentation of the meeting.


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