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Sunday, December 09, 2007

What is Menu for Hope?

Mfh4roundedsmallIt's that time of year again, when food bloggers from all over the world join together, taking leave from our usual frivolity. Throughout the year, we celebrate food as a source of joy, but for two weeks every December, we ask you, our readers, to help us support those who are not so lucky, to whom food is not a mere indulgence but a matter of survival. This Menu for Hope is our small way to help. Please join us.

What is Menu for Hope?
Who benefits from Menu for Hope 4?
What percentage of the funds actually goes to those we help?
How can you help?
Who administers the raffle drawings and when will the results be announced?

What is Menu for Hope?

Menu for Hope is an annual fundraising event in support of the UN World Food Programme. Five years ago, the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia inspired me to find a way to help, and the very first Menu for Hope was born. In 2006, Menu for Hope raised US$60,925.12 to help the UN World Food Programme feed the hungry.

Each year, food bloggers from all over the world join forces to host the Menu for Hope online raffle, offering an array of delectable culinary prizes. For every US$10, the donor receive a virtual raffle ticket toward a prize of their choice. This year, the prizes include once in a lifetime experiences such as touring the elBulli laboratory with Ferran Adrià , dining on a historic British meal prepared by Heston Blumenthal, or joining Harold McGee on a lunch date to satisfy a lifetime's worth of cooking curiosity. You can also tag along with your favorite blogger on a tour of their favorite markets, restaurants, or even receive a care package fashioned especially for you from your favorite bloggers themselves. All you need is $10 and a bit of luck.

We may never eradicate hunger from the face of the earth, but why should that stop us from trying?

Who benefits from Menu for Hope 4?

Wfplogosmall This year for the 4th annual Menu for Hope, we are again supporting the UN World Food Programme. WFP is the world’s largest food aid agency, working with over 1,000 other organizations in over 75 countries. In addition to providing food, the World Food Program helps hungry people to become self-reliant so that they escape hunger for good.

With a special permission from the WFP, the funds raised by Menu for Hope 4 will be earmarked for the school lunch program in Lesotho, Africa. We chose to support the school lunch program because providing food for the children not only keeps them alive, but helps them stay in school so that they learn the skills to feed themselves in the future.

We chose to support the program in Lesotho because it is a model program in local procurement - buying food locally to support local farmers and the local economy. Instead of shipping surplus corn across the ocean, the WFP is buying directly from local subsistent farmers who practice conservation farming methods in Lesotho to feed the children there.

We feed the kids, keep them in school, and support their parents and community farming. This sustainable approach to aid is something we believe in and strongly support.

What percentage of the funds actually go to those we help?

For every $100 donated to Menu for Hope, nearly $87 goes directly to the school children and farmers in Lesotho.

Here's how we came to that number:

0% go to Menu for Hope management
We don't take any cut at all from this. All the bloggers participating do it for free.

7% go to The UN World Food Programme
The WFP uses no more than 7% of their total funds raised each year for their operational overhead. You can see the entire 2006 operating report for yourself here.

Firstgiving 7.35% 6.35% go to Firstgiving
Firstgiving, the online fundraising company we use to manage Menu for Hope donations charges a service fee of 7.35%, which covers credit card processing, hosting, security, administrative, service, and all other services they provide.

Donors can make an online donation with a credit card. Firstgiving collects and processes the payments and, at the end of the campaign, transfers the donations in one lump sum to the WFP. This is a win-win situation for all parties involved. The bloggers never touch the money. The WFP don't waste overheads on processing mini-donations, the majority of which were between $10-$50, that's a whole lot of tenners to make up 60K.

Last year, Firstgiving was kind enough to donate back 1% of the total amount we raised back to the campaign. This is in lieu of a discount on their already small fees, so, basically, Firstgiving only charges our campaign about 6.35% fees! Thank you so much Firstgiving!

The rest, 85.65% ~86.65% goes to the children and the farmers. You can meet them here.

How can you help?

Donate as much as you are able to help. You can browse our full prize list and choose the prize you want. Each US$10 you donate will earn you one virtual raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. Follow the instructions at the end of the prize list to make sure you enter the information properly for the raffle.

If you are a blogger, author, or delicious things producers who want to donate a prize to add to our list. Contact me, or the local regional host in your area.

Who administer the raffle drawings and when will the results be announced?

At the end of the campaign, Firstgiving will provide us with the spreadsheet containing the raffle bids. My good friend the code wizard Derrick Schneider of Obsession with Food wrote a little piece of code that did the drawing for us last year, and we will use essentially that same code, with some minor improvements, to draw the raffle this year too. If you're into coding and such geekiness, you might want to check out Derrick's blog where he explicates it all.

Only Derrick and I will refrain from buying raffle tickets in this campaign. The regional hosts have nothing to do with the drawing and so could not possibly affect the outcome, so they are free to place raffle bids as they please.

The results will be announced Wednesday January 9, right here on Chez Pim. We will do our best to contact the winners via email, but since emails have a habit of disappearing into the ether, we do suggest that you check back on Chez Pim on January 9 just to be sure.

Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts,

Pim Techamuanvivit, Chez Pim
Menu for Hope creator and Grand Poohba campaigner

..who could not have pulled this off without the help of these great friends..

Adam Cuban, Serious Eats
Regional Host, US: East Coast
Bee, Rasa Malaysia
Regional Host, US: West Coast
Kalyn Denny, Kalyn's Kitchen
Regional Host, US: everywhere else
Jean Horak of Cooksister
and Johanna Wagner, The Passionate Cook
Regional Hosts: UK
Fanny Zanotti, Foodbeam
Regional Host: Europe
Jennifer Hamilton, The Domestic Goddess
Regional Host, Canada
Helen of Grab Your Fork
Regional Host: Asia Pacific, Australia, New Zealand
Alder Yarrow, Vinography
Special Host: Wine Blogs


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