50/50 raffle at Sox opener to boost humanitarian efforts in Ukraine

  • Chicago White Sox Charities is dedicating its Opening Day Sox Split 50/50 raffle to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine by the international charities UNICEF and World Central Kitchen. The jackpot started at $50,000.

    Chicago White Sox Charities is dedicating its Opening Day Sox Split 50/50 raffle to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine by the international charities UNICEF and World Central Kitchen. The jackpot started at $50,000.

 
 
Updated 4/12/2022 6:18 AM

The Chicago White Sox's first 2022 home game is going to be slightly different -- at least with its Opening Day Sox Split 50/50 raffle.

Instead of aiding Chicago-area nonprofits, the raffle proceeds are going to international charities helping children and families suffering because of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

 

"One of the things we really focus on is kids and families in crisis," said Christine O'Reilly, executive director of Chicago White Sox Charities, which sponsors home game Sox Split 50/50 raffles with Wintrust Bank.

"It's just hard to escape the devastating trauma that so many children and families are experiencing in Ukraine and those Ukrainians who have been displaced from their homes," O'Reilly said.

Since the early 1990s, Chicago White Sox Charities has presented 50/50 raffles for home games. Half the donation jackpot goes to a raffle winner, while the rest of the proceeds are made into philanthropic grants to support Chicago-area community groups and charities that range from cancer research to youth education.

But this year, Chicago White Sox Charities is steering Opening Day Sox Split raffle proceeds to the humanitarian organizations UNICEF and World Central Kitchen.

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"They are right there with boots on the ground providing the most basic, essential services," O'Reilly said.

UNICEF is a provides emergency relief, health care and immunizations, sanitation, education and more across the world.

World Central Kitchen was founded in 2010 by famed Chef José Andrés specifically to provide meals amid humanitarian, climate and community crises. Andrés himself has recently been documented alongside World Central Kitchen humanitarians providing food to residents of Ukrainian cities that were previously occupied by Russian forces.

And to encourage Sox fans to purchase Opening Day 50/50 raffle tickets, Chicago White Sox Charities has sweetened the initial jackpot with $50,000. That means the eventual winner will take home at least $25,000, and $25,000 will be going to UNICEF and World Central Kitchen.

Last year, O'Reilly said, the Opening Day Sox Split 50/50 raffle jackpot nearly hit $200,000. She hopes that this year's jackpot will be much higher by the time it ends at the conclusion of the seventh inning in today's opener.

"We raise money thanks to the generosity of White Sox fans," O'Reilly said. "It's really about meeting the urgency of the crisis."

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