I have been given an unreal opportunity to kick off 2014 in Africa. I’ll be traveling with The Lunch Project to Tanzania to learn about their current school lunch program (feeding 900 kids local food at $0.09/meal) and explore potential partnership opportunities with PlateShare for future expansion to more school sites. I was trying to save up my dollars to join them in June, but some things aligned and it’s happening on 1/1/14 instead. I am beyond grateful.
The Lunch Project
I honestly can’t remember how it happened now, but I connected with The Lunch Project’s founder Rebecca Wofford earlier this year through PlateShare’s networking chain. We met up at Whole Foods one day to chat hunger–I, domestic; she, global–and change and opportunities to join forces. I left the booth that day changed and inspired. I consider Rebecca a friend and a mentor now, and I haven’t stopped thinking about her project since.
The Lunch Project is a practical, no nonsense, scalable school lunch program at Lemanyata Primary School that provides a locally grown, locally processed and locally prepared meal to 900 students for just $85 a day. Sensitive to the unnecessary Americanization of some relief programs, Rebecca chose to make her program authentic to the region and sustainable by sourcing local corn and milk to make the porridge and hiring local women to prepare and serve it.
What makes The Lunch Project so palpable for me is the impact that’s made with just nine cents. After talking with Rebecca the first time I remember passing a dime on the sidewalk and going back to pick it up because I saw it as a meal for a child instead of forgotten small change on the ground. This belief that every penny counts and that together we can create change with spare change is the foundation upon which PlateShare is built. And that connection, I think, is why I have this magnetic draw to The Lunch Project too.
Both The Lunch Project and PlateShare believe that every little bit counts and that everyone can make a difference no matter how much (or how little) you have to contribute.
Because my trip is free (another participant had to bow out at the last minute for a family emergency and generously offered up his spot, fully funded), I see this as an opportunity to raise considerable funds for The Lunch Project. They have an opportunity to expand to other schools throughout the country, but they need the funds to sustain it. We can make this happen.
For just $85 you can sponsor lunch service for more than 900 children. As a thank you to people who give $85 or more, the children will share a photo of them holding a sign with your name or organization on it. (You can even select which day you want to sponsor, a great non-traditional birthday or anniversary gift for someone special!) If you’ve ever doubted charitable giving for fear your money isn’t going where you think it is, you can literally see your personal impact in the children’s hands.
My personal goal is to rally my network to raise enough money to feed the school for a month. If you’d like to donate (any amount!) please follow the steps below:
- Visit The Lunch Project donation page
- Click Donate Today to access their secure PayPal transaction page
- Enter your donation amount (every penny counts!)
- IMPORTANT: On your PayPal confirmation page click on “Add Special Instructions” and enter KATIE2014. (This is just for my own goal setting so I can track how much we raise together!)
- Leave a comment! I’d love to hear if you’ve donated so feel free to leave a comment here if you do. (Perhaps there will be an awesome giveaway hint hint…)
Hunger is a cause that I can feel in my bones. I believe that we are the generation that will eradicate global hunger, and I believe that because if we can, we must. And we can. We have everything we need.
What you believe is true for you. Thoughts increase by being given away. The more who believe in them the stronger they become. Everything is an idea. What we can accomplish together has no limits. I place peace in your heart and in your hands, to hold and to share. The heart is pure to hold it, and the hands are strong to give it. We cannot lose.
– A Course in Miracles
Thank you thank you thank you for your support of this project. I will be back in January with a full recap of the adventure and what else we can all do to keep moving forward.
Like The Lunch Project on Facebook
TLP is eager to hit 900 likes for their 900 kids before the end of the year. I think we can help them out in that department. Please head over to the TLP Facebook page to show some love.
Wait, What is PlateShare?
PlateShare is a passion project I’ve been working on throughout 2013. In short, PlateShare is a charitable microgiving application that encourages you to give a small donation to hunger relief efforts each time you dine out. The mobile application is in development for Android and iOS and will be ready in 2014. Future updates will include: restaurant rewards (the more you give, the more you earn) and POS integration for receipt roundup donations. Funds generated benefit hunger relief organizations that support our mission of providing nutritious food to those in need. I am eager to find a way to partner with The Lunch Project so that $0.09 from every PlateShare donation goes to provide a meal in Tanzania.