Ending World Hunger, One Grilled Cheese at a Time
FeelGood addresses two great needs of our time. We are addressing the need to equip young people to respond to the toughest challenges humanity faces, and we are addressing the challenge of chronic, persistent global hunger – a condition that takes the life of a child every six seconds.
It’s a fundraising strategy unlike any other: enlist thousands of college students across the country in the mission to end world hunger by harnessing the mighty power of…a grilled cheese sandwich.
It’s the initiative of FeelGood: a youth-led non-profit now active on 24 college campuses across the US. Hundreds of students—or “feelgooders” as they are known—volunteer their time to run gourmet grilled cheese delis offering sandwiches in exchange for a donation and a conversation. Every penny raised—100%—is invested in one of two organizations working for the end of hunger: The Hunger Project or Choice Humanitarian.
“Two key elements of our fundraising strategy are that students volunteer their time, and get all of their deli equipment and supplies donated from local sources,” says FeelGood executive director and co-founder Kristin Walter. “That way all the money raised by the delis is pure profit.”
It’s a strategy that works. In 2011, more than 600 FeelGood students volunteered 71,600 hours to make 19,600 grilled cheeses to raise $58,976 for the end of hunger, according to FeelGood’s 2011 annual report.
What motivates these students to give so much time? “A deep personal connection to the issue,” says FeelGood co-founder Talis Apud. “Through our online curriculum and various program intensives like our summer training institute, FeelGood students develop a lot of passion around the issue of global hunger, and a lot of knowledge. They put all of that into the operation of their fundraising deli.”
It’s that passion and knowledge that make a FeelGood deli more than just a vehicle for raising money—it also raises awareness. “Walk up to order a sandwich and through displays, literature and even the menu board, you’ll see it’s also a vehicle for educating people about the causes of global hunger and the hunger-ending strategies that really work,” says Talis.
According to FeelGood, since the 1950s more than a trillion dollars have been invested in the end of global hunger without much to show for it. The problem, says Talis, is that traditional aid programs misidentify who the hungry are. “They look at people born into hunger and see a billion mouths to feed, an approach that leads to resignation and increased dependency. The programs we support see the hungry as a billion creative human beings who, under the right conditions, have the capacity to end their own hunger.”
Those “right” conditions include local leadership, grassroots support, an equal role for men and women, and a commitment to environmental sustainability. “These are the conditions that empower the people to create their own vision of what’s possible, and to rely on local resources and partnerships to turn that vision into reality. You won’t believe how phenomenally successful that approach is until you see it in action,” says Talis.
“That’s why just raising money is not enough,” concludes Kristin. “Educating people, engaging them in dialogue, and building a broad base of support for aid strategies that really work…these are essential if the money we raise is really going to have the maximum impact.”
More About This Charity
Most Creative Fundraiser by a Charity
FeelGood’s mission is to empower a generation of changemakers who are ending world hunger, one grilled cheese at a time.
- This Achievement raised $58,976
- This charity raised $238,976 in the past year
- This Achievement helped 7,900 people
- This charity helped 30,472 people in the past year
- More than 600 FeelGood students volunteered 71,600 hours to make 19,600 sandwiches to raise $58,976 to empower 7,300 people toward self reliant action
USA, Mexico, Bolivia, Guatamela, Kenya, Nepal, Mozambique, India, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, Benin, Malawi