"Silent Guest" Campaign - by KindWorks in partnership with the WFP
South Sudan, the world's newest country (est. 2011) has been living in a state of civil war and violence since 2013. This violence has crippled the country causing mass starvation, internal displacement, and the fastest growing refugee problem in the world. The World Food Programme (WFP), the food-assistance branch of the United Nations, has made an official Famine Declaration in South Sudan where approximately one half of the population (six million people) face starvation. Two million people are internally displaced and over 1 million are in refugee camps across the border. The WFP, USA needs help and KindWorks (my new favorite go-to organization) has answered the call!
Today, I was invited to a KindWorks meeting where they were doing final preparations to launch their first Silent Guest Campaign. I have to admit that after working at Manna and with Food & Friends, I questioned myself about getting involved in a hunger crisis so far away when there is hunger so close by. I credit Sarah for reminding me that the point of my "Follow Me To 50" project was to be open-minded and not to pre-judge what would and would not inspire me. Thanks to Sarah, I went and I am very glad that I did.
Piggy backing on the Silent Guest Campaign done 70 years ago to rebuild war-torn Europe, KindWorks will launch their own Silent Guest Campaign for South Sudan. Starting October 16th (World Food Day) through the Thanksgiving holiday, the campaign asks that we Give $10 (the cost of feeding a guest at your holiday table) and Share 10 (ask 10 people to give $10 and share the campaign 10 times). For each person who gives $10 and successfully gets 10 people to give $10 as well, the WFP will be able to feed 200 people facing famine in South Sudan. Pretty extraordinary, right? Pretty easy too!
Sitting at the dining room table of the woman who watched the March 19th airing of 60 Minutes - Fighting Famine and then compelled the Board of KindWorks to take action, it was easy to get inspired by their passion and comfortable with the idea of expanding my service beyond the U.S. This group of intelligent, hands-on, compassionate women welcomed me to their table and to their project and really made me feel valuable. There need not be a choice -- Manna helping local residents with food insecurity OR the Silent Guest Campaign for South Sudan. I can do both! I can do it all and so can YOU! First, $10 is a very modest donation to give as well as to seek from 10 friends. Second, we are really all part of a global community. People are people no matter where they are. What is happening in South Sudan and elsewhere is unspeakable. What happens there should and does affect me. There is no down side for me getting behind this cause. In fact, it started to sound very Trump-like not to (ooh, sorry if I offended any fans). I don't have to make it a Sophie's Choice - my community OR their community. It's ALL OUR community, so I'm in!
I invite you to explore the website launched by KindWorks and the WFP to see if you too are as compelled as I am to take action - a.k.a. Give $10/Share 10x. I want to assure you that I don't plan to use this blog as a forum for solicitation and I hope no one takes offense to this soft ask. I am not forming an official team or tracking donations, so the decision to participate is entirely up to you. I'm simply making my own donation and sharing it with my 10+. Please explore the website to learn the more about the history of this problem, the solutions, and get the tools to "Join the Table" yourself (be a part of the campaign). The site can be found at wfpusa.org/silentguest. I hope you will participate in this meaningful program. Feel free to reach out to me directly for more information and/or to cut and paste from this blog to share with your 10+. I have beautiful printed material you can use and access to people more knowledgeable than me to connect you with should you be interested. Is there room for one more at your table? Please feed a silent guest this holiday season!
My Takeaways: (1) My community is much larger than I tend to think it to be; (2) If you you don't act because you think about everything so skeptically as, "how will my $10 really make a difference?" you will never be part of a solution. Together, everyone and anything can make a difference; (3) The more I continue to say "yes" to things and explore new ideas, causes, and people, the more I learn and grow. I'm so glad to have been included in this circle of KindWorkers and am grateful to Sarah for giving me a healthy push to go.