Sweet And Crumby

Baking, a Love Story

A Simple and Brilliant Concept to Help Fight Hunger in East Africa


When I went to Simply Life’s blog today, I was captured by the photos and story of Sarah Lenssen who has started an organization called Ask5for5. It is such a simple concept to help raise money to feed children in East Africa; Ask 5 friends to donate $5 and email their friends to do the same. So simple, you think it might not have a big enough impact, and YET Ask5for5 has raised over $25,000 in a little over a month! That’s incredible! Please read her guest post and see if you can help with this cause.

Sarah believes the response to a crisis must be equal (if not greater) than the size and scope of it. So she is aiming to raise $40,000. This can be done. Giving $5, and getting just 5 of our friends to give $5. And each of their friends can contribute. Indeed, we can help relieve extreme hunger!

As you will see below in Sarah’s guestpost, she is serious in her thoughts and actions.

Guest Blogger: Sarah Lenssen from #Ask5for5

Family photos by Mike Fiechtner Photography

Thank you Sweet and Crumby and nearly 150 other bloggers from around the world for allowing me to share a story with you today, during Social Media Week.

A hungry child in East Africa can’t wait. Her hunger consumes her while we decide if we’ll respond and save her life. In Somalia, children are stumbling along for days, even weeks, on dangerous roads and with empty stomachs in search of food and water. Their crops failed for the third year in a row. All their animals died. They lost everything. Thousands are dying along the road before they find help in refugee camps.

At my house, when my three children are hungry, they wait minutes for food, maybe an hour if dinner is approaching. Children affected by the food crisis in in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia aren’t so lucky. Did you know that the worst drought in 60 years is ravaging whole countries right now, as you read this? Famine, a term not used lightly, has been declared in Somalia. This is the world’s first famine in 20 years.12.4 million people are in need of emergency assistance and over 29,000 children have died in the last three months alone. A child is dying every 5 minutes. It it estimated that 750,000 people could die before this famine is over. Take a moment and let that settle in.

The media plays a major role in disasters. They have the power to draw the attention of society to respond–or not. Unfortunately, this horrific disaster has become merely a footnote in most national media outlets. News of the U.S. national debt squabble and the latest celebrity’s baby bump dominate headlines. That is why I am thrilled that nearly 150 bloggers from all over the world are joining together today to use the power of social media to make their own headlines; to share the urgent need of the almost forgotten with their blog readers. Humans have the capacity to care deeply for those who are suffering, but in a situation like this when the numbers are too huge to grasp and the people so far away, we often feel like the little we can do will be a drop in the ocean, and don’t do anything at all.

When news of the famine first hit the news in late July, I selfishly avoided it. I didn’t want to read about it or hear about it because I knew I would feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable. I wanted to protect myself. I knew I would need to do something if I knew what was really happening. You see, this food crisis is personal. I have a 4-year-old son and a 1 yr-old daughter who were adopted from Ethiopia and born in regions now affected by the drought. If my children still lived in their home villages, they would be two of the 12.4 million. My children: extremely hungry and malnourished? Gulp. I think any one of us would do anything we could for our hungry child. But would you do something for another mother’s hungry child?

My friend and World Vision staffer, Jon Warren, was recently in Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya–the largest refugee camp in the world with over 400,000 people. He told me the story of Isnino Siyat, 22, a mother who walked for 10 days and nights with her husband, 1 yr-old-baby, Suleiman, and 4 yr.-old son Adan Hussein, fleeing the drought in Somalia. When she arrived at Dadaab, she built the family a shelter with borrowed materials while carrying her baby on her back. Even her dress is borrowed. As she sat in the shelter on her second night in camp she told Jon, “I left because of hunger. It is a very horrible drought which finished both our livestock and our farm.” The family lost their 5 cows and 10 goats one by one over 3 months, as grazing lands dried up. “We don’t have enough food now…our food is finished. I am really worried about the future of my children and myself if the situation continues.”

Will you help a child like Baby Suleiman? Ask5for5 is a dream built upon the belief that you will.

That something I knew I would need to do became a campaign called #Ask5for5 to raise awareness and funds for famine and drought victims. The concept is simple, give $5 and ask five of your friends to give $5, and then they each ask five of their friends to give $5 and so on–in nine generations of 5x5x5…we could raise $2.4 Million! In one month, over 750 people have donated over $25,000! I set up a fundraiser at See Your Impact and 100% of the funds will go to World Vision, an organization that has been fighting hunger in the Horn of Africa for decades and will continue long after this famine has ended. Donations can multiply up to 5 times in impact by government grants to help provide emergency food, clean water, agricultural support, healthcare, and other vital assistance to children and families suffering in the Horn.

I need you to help me save lives. It’s so so simple; here’s what you need to do:

  1. Donate $5 or more on this page (http://seeyourimpact.org/members/ask5for5)
  2. Send an email to your friends and ask them to join us.
  3. Share #Ask5for5 on Facebook and Twitter!

I’m looking for another 100 bloggers to share this post on their blogs throughout Social Media Week. Email me at ask5for5@gmail.com if you’re interested in participating this week.

A hungry child doesn’t wait. She doesn’t wait for us to finish the other things on our to-do list, or get to it next month when we might have a little more money to give. She doesn’t wait for us to decide if she’s important enough to deserve a response. She will only wait as long as her weakened little body will hold on…please respond now and help save her life. Ask 5 for 5.

Thank you on behalf of all of those who will be helped–you are saving lives and changing history.

p.s. Please don’t move on to the next website before you donate and email your friends right now. It only takes 5 minutes and just $5, and if you’re life is busy like mine, you probably won’t get back to it later. Let’s not be a generation that ignores hundreds of thousands of starving people, instead let’s leave a legacy of compassion. You have the opportunity to save a life today!

18 thoughts on “A Simple and Brilliant Concept to Help Fight Hunger in East Africa

  1. I just read this post on Simply Life’s blog too! You’re right, it is such a brilliant concept…thanks for re-posting!

  2. I’ve seen this several times today. What an incredibly sad story. I’m linking to this today.

  3. I love that you posted this- thanks for sharing!

    P.S. To answer your question- the only way to get good photos over the stovetop is to cook when it’s light outside and there’s natural light!

  4. Fabulous concept, the idea “believes the response to a crisis must be equal (if not greater) than the size and scope of it” really hits home.

  5. Such a great post. I’m off to donate!

  6. Thanks for sharing, this is so sad. My husband’s income has gone down and a few years back when I just given birth to our third child we hadn’t had a pay check in 4 months and it was difficult to tell my kids they couldn’t have seconds because we needed to have the food last us for as long as we could because we didn’t know when we’d have food to put on the table. Luckily we have family that helped but I can’t imagine what these people endure on a daily basis. Food is medicine and many of these diseases can be prevented from just having fresh fruits and vegetables and clean running water.

  7. Wow, what an amazing cause. Thanks so much for sharing, Geni.

  8. So wonderful of you for sharing this Geni. It’s touching and sad. Definitely a very worthwhile cause that Sarah has become involved in.

  9. This really seems like such a wonderful cause. Thanks for posting this Geni

  10. Great post Geni, I wanna dontate as well.

  11. Thank you so much, Geni, for sharing this post with your readers! I am in awe of the money we have raised and all of the people who will be helped as a result. I know I am blessed to be a blessing!

Leave a Reply to Geni - Sweet and Crumby Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s