We are excited to share with you our series Razom Says Dyakuyu. “Dyakuyu” means “thank you” in Ukrainian. Our work supporting Ukraine and getting humanitarian aid on the ground where it is needed most, would not be possible without the generous donations made by donors. With this series, we are highlighting some of the amazing donors and unique fundraisers that have supported Razom.
Solidarity with Ukraine and support for Razom’s humanitarian work on the ground comes in various shapes — even a ginormous Ukrainian flag measuring 34 by 86 feet composed of 4,932 blue Rice Krispies and yellow Corn Pops cereal boxes. The blue and yellow flag was laid out at the Wintrust Grand Banking Hall by several dozen Chicago-area teenagers over the course of three days from August 11-13.
Friends Michael Kotcher, 15, and Ryder Shiffman, 16, co-created the project as a way to raise awareness about russia’s war in Ukraine — for the simple reason of our shared humanity. “I don’t know anyone personally from Ukraine, but it doesn’t matter. I feel that after seeing everything on the news, it was just really saddening,” Kotcher told CBS Chicago.
Fundraising for Ukraine was a major component of the cereal mosaic project. Kotcher and Shiffman discussed the idea of the cereal box flag mosaic with their mothers and then organized themselves into the group Chicago Children United for Ukraine. They secured donations of cereal boxes from Kellogg’s and then began searching for a charity to partner with.
“We did some research on different groups in Ukraine and we felt [Razom] were the most reliable,” Shiffman said.
With Razom as the beneficiary, a GoFundMe campaign was created. While the fundraiser is still ongoing (and can be found here), as of today nearly $27,000 has been raised through this platform which will go directly to Razom.
“Razom continues to do incredibly important work in Ukraine providing humanitarian relief to those in need,” Lara Shiffman, Ryder’s mother and one of the coordinators of the event, told Razom. “We are thrilled to be doing our part in Chicago to help Razom in their efforts.”
Contributions to Razom’s Emergency Response project weren’t the only remarkable outcome of this project. After the mosaic’s completion, Chicago Children United for Ukraine donated the cereal boxes to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
With the mosaic, the Chicago Children United for Ukraine are also attempting to set a new Guinness World record for the largest cereal box mosaic. While this was “a secondary goal,” for the group, Razom wishes them the best of luck.
Razom and all the people whom we’ve been able to support on the ground in Ukraine during the war say “dyakuyu” to Chicago Children United for Ukraine.
Photos by Lara Shiffman