The Zen Buddhist Temple of Ann Arbor, Michigan was one of the first organizations that responded to the call of United Help Ukraine to help to collect food for Ukrainian refugees. The Sangha was looking for ways to help Ukraine and when they learned about the opportunity to collect food for Internally displaced Ukrainians in Rivne, they embraced this idea and engaged the broader Ann Arbor community.
In less than three weeks, Ann Arbor citizens fundraised more than $15,000 to buy food in bulk, and collected 5 tons of food donations from the community. United Help Ukraine will be covering the costs of delivery and distribution!
However, it’s not just food that Ann Arbor is sending to Ukraine. Children in local schools made cards and drawings to support Ukrainians, and local muralists volunteered their time to paint the shipment container in which the food will be delivered. Michigan artists Shingo Brown and Gary Horton researched Ukrainian art and painted murals inspired by Ukraine at two sides of the container. Shingo Brown dedicated his mural to Maria Primachenko, the Ukrainian folk artist whose paintings were destroyed at the beginning of the war. Gary Horton painted a sunflower incorporating his own style as a symbol of rebirth. The third side was painted by Ann Arbor children and adults with messages of love and support. The temple hosted an event that featured a concert of Traditional Ukrainian songs. The art made this act of giving more than charity, it facilitated human connection. We are not only sending a container of food donations, we are also sending symbols of hope and support to the people of Ukraine.