A couple months ago, I wrote about what people can do to help the situation in Somalia and East Africa. Basically, I said the best way to get money to Somalia is to talk to your Somali neighbors, co-workers and friends and give them money that is guaranteed to get to people that really need it. I’m here to tell you that plan did not work. How do I know? Because with all the non-Somalis I know, so far I’ve raised less than $400.
In the past four months I’ve sent over $5,000. I depleted my saving account. I signed over paycheck after paycheck to the money transfer agencies. And I know I’m not alone. There isn’t a Somali out here who doesn’t still have relatives, friends, and old neighbors still stuck in the middle of this.
In those same four months, 30,000 children under the age of five have died. WAKE UP WORLD! WAKE UP AMERICA!
So, I figured I lack legitimacy and people don’t really want to trust me. I really want to help and do my part, you see, so I did the next best thing I know how. I organized a fundraising event and got an actual organization that people trust to sponsor the event, the American Refugee Committee. Voila.
You can RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a place at the table on September 15.
Or you can donate directly, without going to the banquet.
I called my friend Stephanie Hogenson, who called her cousin who volunteers with the ARC. I got Safari Restaurant and Banquet Center (3010 4th Avenue S., Minneapolis) to donate space that will fit 350 people. They will give us a big discount and prepare a wonderful meal. We got speakers and a beautiful and magical night will take place on Thursday, September 15, 2011 at Safari in Minneapolis, MN.
By now I’m thinking perfect, there is no way my wonderful, amazing Americans could have any excuses of not helping the victims and families of famine in Somalia.
So far, my friends and I have about 20 people on Facebook who said they will come and a couple handfuls of family and friends. We worked on this event for about two months now and it is really sad that only 30 people will come. 30 people in a space for 350.
I am writing this column to plead with my wonderful and amazing online community to come to this event and help me spread the word.
What we do now is more important than ever. Maybe you’re busy on the 15th, maybe you don’t like banquets, you can still give. For us, it’s a little money out of our wallets, maybe even a pinch in our spending.
For some people it’s the difference between life and death.
From Facebook page for benefit:
Enjoy a delicious Somali dinner, hear from our speakers and learn about what is happening in Somlia now and American Refugee Committee’s work. Also, hear a personal story from Somali Ifrah Jimale and learn about the famine on the ground from Said Sheik-Abdi who returned from Somalia in August. Bid on fabulous silent auction items and enter the raffle!
Suggested donation of $30 to $50 per person, $25 for students. Includes appetizers, a delicious Somali dinner, presentations, Q&A and mingling! 90% of proceeds go directly to on the ground efforts in Somalia! If you can’t make it, send a donation! http://www.arcrelief.org/
Sponsored by the American Refugee Committee. Organized by Stephanie Hogenson, Ifrah Jimale, and Meredith Seaborn
Please R.S.V.P. to email@example.com to reserve a place at the table on September 15.
“If you can’t feed 100 people, then just feed one.”