One of my wife’s grandmothers was left with her brother an orphan edge, because their my mother, my wife’s great-grandmother, thought they had better chances of getting food there and surviving. She was right. Both she and her children survived. After the hunger passed, she was able to collect them and bring them home.
This was in Poltava Oblast.
There was an expression during Holodomor which happens to rhyme in both Ukrainian and English.
Something like this: “вовна бавовна, Хот шлунок повні”
cotton. wool. At least stomach is full.
On the other side of my wife’s family, they survived Holodomor in part because of a golden cross which someone had won as a Tsarist military decoration. They family would break off pieces of the cross and take it into town to sell to merchants in exchange for bread.