The sunflower, Ukraine’s national flower, has become a symbol of peace and solidarity with the Ukrainian people in their efforts against their Russian aggressors. Dr. Mark Gallo, a biology professor at Niagara University, was so inspired by their hopeful message that he planted a field of sunflowers on his property, and they are now ready to pick. He is hoping that, by selling the bright blooms, he will not only raise funds to support the humanitarian efforts in the Ukraine, but also encourage others to find ways to champion the cause.
“The sunflower has special meaning to Ukraine,” said Dr. Gallo, who noted they are a major crop in the region. “In the early days of the invasion, an elderly woman went out in the street to the soldiers, offering them sunflower seeds and saying ‘Take these seeds so sunflowers grow here where you die’ as roughly translated by BBC News reporters.”
Dr. Gallo will be selling the flowers at Niagara University this week from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Gallagher Center and is also coordinating virtual sales with the two other Vincentian universities in the United States, with all proceeds going to Catholic Relief Services. Flowers are available for a suggested donation of $1.