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'It feels amazing to help': Chicago area teens attempt a world record while raising awareness to the crisis in Ukraine

Chicago area trying for a world record while raising awareness to the crisis in Ukraine
Chicago area teens trying for a world record while raising awareness to the crisis in Ukraine 02:25

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A couple dozen Chicago-area teens are spending three sunny afternoons inside this week, helping people they've never met -- a world away.

They're working hard on a construction project with some unusual materials, all to help the people of Ukraine. CBS 2's Marie Saavedra has the story.

Trying to break a world's record takes a lot of time, sweat and determination. This week, two high school students and about a dozen of their friends gave all that for a good cause.

Michael and Ryder were putting put the finishing touches on a Ukrainian flag, made of nearly 5,000 cereal boxes, assembled inside the Wintrust Bank on LaSalle in the Loop.

They're hoping their creation will break the Guinness World Record for the largest mosaic made of cereal boxes. If it looks easy, rest assured it is not.

This labor of love is the brain-child of 15-year-old Michael Kotcher and 16-year-old Ryder Schiffman, two buddies and organizers of the group Chicago Children United for Ukraine.

They told their moms about it and the idea just blossomed.

"They put out the feelers to their friends from school, their friends from sports teams they play on, family and friends and put tog 25 kid," said Lara Schiffman.

Donors can contribute to the cereal box mosaic project and all the money raised goes directly to Razom Emergency Response. It's a boots on the ground organization that provides medical equipment and other vital supplies to Ukraine, as the war with Russia rages on.

"We did some research on different groups in Ukraine and we felt they were the most reliable," said Ryder Schiffman.

Michael and Ryder said building community goes beyond where you live, even if the people you help are a world away.

"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 said.

"It feels amazing to help," added Schiffman.

Michael and Ryder said what they and their families and friends did here will live on, and that's really important.

"The good thing about a world record is that there's a world record book. And so if people are looking at it and they're looking at all these cool records, they can see this and be reminded and it helps create awareness about what's going on in Ukraine," Kotcher said.

The grand total of boxes: 4,932. Looks like a record breaker, but the people from Guinness still have to certify.

Chicago Children United for Ukraine has a GoFundMe page for donations, but the giving isn't over yet. Kellogg's, which provided all the cereal, is now donating the cereal to the greater Chicago Food Depository.

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