Copernicus Center in Jefferson Park collecting bulletproof vests for Ukraine; concert at the center raises $40,000 for humanitarian aid for Ukrainians
by BRIAN NADIG
The Copernicus Center in Jefferson Park has collected about 200 bulletproof vests that are being shipped to Ukraine, and a recent concert at the center raised $40,000 for charitable groups helping Ukrainians.
The center, located at 5216 W. Lawrence Ave., plans on collecting the vests “for as long as we need to,” said Copernicus Center executive director Kamila Sumelka. “We shipped the first vests (on March 16) … and they were in the hands of those on the ground 24 hours later,”she said.
Many of the donated vests are coming from retired police officers, and several police departments are assisting with the collection drive, Sumelka said.
“The vests may be expired, but that’s okay,” Sumelka said.
Many Ukrainians are seeking any type of improved protection, and families often share one vest, Sumelka said. The fact that 10 Ukrainians were fatally shot while waiting for bread illustrates the need for more bulletproof vests, she said.
The center also hosted the “Together for Ukraine” charity concert on March 13. About 1,300 people attended, and several performers participated.
The proceeds will benefit SOS Children’s Villages, which provides support for abandoned children and foster families, Polish Humanitarian Action, which provides aid for people in Ukraine and those who are now refugees in Poland, Hospitallers, which provides medical assistance to those on the frontlines, and Order of Malta, which offers a variety of medical and humanitarian help.
Sponsors and organizers of the concert included the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Chicago, Golf Mill Ford and Chevrolet, Polish Radio 1030, Polvision TV, the Little Stars Theater Workshop and the Copernicus Foundation.
For more information, call the center at 773-777-8898 or visit www.copernicuscenter.org.
Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, and it is estimated that millions have been displaced due to the war.