As founder and CEO of Racz Group, a hugely successful franchise business employing over 2,500 people, Mike Racz has never been afraid of a challenge. This January 15, 2024, Mike is hitting the road solo in a transit van, heading to war-torn Ukraine. The mission? To fill a transit van plus a 40-tonne lorry with much-needed aid.
Mike is not taking this challenge alone though; he's calling on Teesside and the wider community (both public and businesses), as well as his army of employees across more than 100 sites under the Racz Group banner (including his Domino’s, Costa Coffee, and Head Quarters franchises) for help. This is more than just a road trip; it's a heartfelt plea for support. Mike would love for everyone to rally together, either by donating items from the community’s list, which includes nappies and socks, to blankets and tinned food (full list can be found here https://raczgroup.co.uk/ukraine-xmas-appeal/. Or, alternatively, by helping him reach his £4,832 GoFundMe target (£1 per km travelled) https://gofund.me/c323fbb0 - where every penny raised will enable Mike to purchase remaining essential items, to fulfil the community's needs.
“Aid is drying up for so many innocent people as the ‘war-fatigue’ sets in and this issue gets less and less coverage and subsequently aid. I know that we can make a huge difference to ordinary people’s lives by donating. I’m just the driver, the face but you are the force so please do what you can to support” – Mike passionately says.
Originally from Hungary but now proudly calling himself a “Teessider,” Mike’s challenge will see him cross seven countries and travel 2,416km (£4,832 target includes the return journey) to deliver much-needed aid to the people of Kryvyi Rih. Although not travelling in convoy, the 40-tonne lorry will make its way separately to Ukraine as part of the mission, to transport substantial aid.
So, why Ukraine? For Mike, this mission is extremely personal. Kateryna, his partner, originates from Kryvyi Rih, and her family still resides there. Amidst reports of missile attacks and an influx of Ukrainians seeking refuge, aid is a lifeline for the city. So, inspired by Kateryna’s food parcels to home and encouraged by Frances Connolly, the founder of the PFC Trust, the idea was created. Additional support is also provided by Hartlepool-based charity HartlePower. But we still need your support, no matter how big or small.
"These are people that still need our help, and we're here to make it happen. Our Racz Group team is all in, and every penny raised goes directly to Ukraine," Mike emphasises.
All logistics and transportation costs will be covered directly by Racz Group, ensuring that every penny and every single item donated will go directly to the mission.
We would love for as many people as possible to be part of this incredible challenge. Your support can make a world of difference. Drop off your contributions at Racz Group’s head office, located at Unit 10, Evolution, Wynyard Park Business Park, TS22 5TB. Or if you prefer making a financial contribution, it's just as impactful, please donate directly through the GoFundMe page https://gofund.me/c323fbb0. For those closer to Greenbank, HartlePower is also ready to accept your donations.
Want to follow Mike’s personal journey? You will be able to stay updated with live videos, vlogs, and more coming soon.
For further details or if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us at Ukraine@raczgroup.co.uk or call 01429 363195.