Naperville Central students lead Operation Illuminate Ukraine

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Students at Naperville Central High School are raising funds through their own nonprofit organization to help Ukrainians impacted by the Kakhovka Dam explosion on June 6, which flooded the region.

Community Anchor NFP’s Operation Illuminate Ukraine aims to raise $35,000 for five tons of canned food, two tons of ramen, and three tons of candles for impacted residents.

“Candles might seem like a third-world thing in the United States, but people in the Kherson region lack electricity, one-fourth of the people,” said Andrew Lazovski, president of Community Anchor NFP.

Community Anchor NFP’s origin

Lazovski’s Eastern European roots played a role in his desire to help those in the area. 

“I was hearing and talking about all the devastation and what people are going through in Ukraine, “ said Lazovski. “I have friends and family from Eastern Europe.”

Community Anchor NFP started with a small group of politically-minded students and has now grown to over 20 participants. In February 2023, the group became officially licensed as a nonprofit organization. 

“We decided to start Community Anchor NFP where we would be able to create a platform where we’d be able to do all these volunteering opportunities while representing ourselves in a larger way,” said Lazovski.

Operation Illuminate Ukraine

Community Anchor partnered with Stalevy Murakhi, an organization based in Mykolaiv, Ukraine that specializes in distributing humanitarian aid in Ukraine’s Kherson region.

Lazovski will travel to Ukraine on July 16 to deliver the candles and supplies.

“We’re direct with what we do,” said Lazovski. “We give money to these communities from our community. Naperville is our target for our fundraising, and we hope that this community here will be able to help out that community there. We are people just like them, and we need to save these people.”

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