Friday, February 26, 2010

Participant of the Week: Greg Fitzgerald

Once Washington, D.C. recovered from the massive snowstorm that temporarily delayed the Georgetown University work effort at the D.C. Central Kitchen, Greg Fitzgerald, a sophomore at the university, and the other WILL WORK FOR FOOD volunteers headed to the kitchen to finally complete their service project. Although this was their first work effort, the group raised an astounding $1,825. Greg raised almost $900 with the help of his family and friends. To thank Greg for this amazing contribution, we made him this week's Participant of the Week. We wanted to learn a little more about Greg, and here's what he had to say:

Q: What's your favorite book?

A: I would have to go with Charlotte's Web by E.B. White.

Q:What's your favorite band?
A: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
A: My favorite place in world is my hometown, Franklin Square, NY, however I would love to travel around Asia because I have never been there before.

Q:Who is your role model and why?
A: I am lucky to have three role models in my life: my mom, my dad Danny, and my step-dad Edgar. I look up to them because every time I follow their advice, something positive tuns up for me, and every time I don't, I realize their suggestion was the better alternative. As long as I keep those three happy, I feel great about myself.

Q: Who did you get to sponsor you, and how did you do it?
A: We wanted to garner a significant amount of support for our first effort, so I sent out an e-mail to all my family members and close friends, hoping a few would respond. However, their overwhelming generosity surprised our team and we far surpassed our original expectations. I am very proud and thankful for such a positive response.

Q: Can you tell us a little more about your service project? What did you guys specifically do there?
A: When we first got to the kitchen, we were briefed about the general services that the D.C. Central Kitchen provides, which are truly outstanding. Their relationship with the community transcends feeding the hungry, extending their organization to become a completely holistic operation concerning all aspects of life. Our specific assignment was to skin sweet potatoes, rinse them off, and vacuum-seal them. During our shift, we prepared over 160 pounds of sweet potatoes to be used for future meals.

Q: How do you feel about the success of your first work effort?
A: Going in, I had no idea what to expect since I had never participated in such a volunteer effort before. However, I was blown away by the passion and sense of brotherhood exuded by all the other volunteers. I felt like I had a hand in something very important and felt great about the whole process.

Q: If you could describe WILL WORK FOR FOOD in one word, what would it be?
A: Exemplary, because literally anyone can start their own chapter and start making a real difference today.

We would like to congratulate Greg and all the other Georgetown reps and volunteers for such a successful first work effort. Keep up the great work!!

Got a work effort coming up? Get sponsored today!

If you want to know every time WILL WORK FOR FOOD posts something new to our blog, email willworkforfoodblog@gmail.com with the subject line "Sign me up."

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dr. Hodes Wows Ann Arbor

Dr. Rick Hodes, a member of the WILL WORK FOR FOOD board, visited Ann Arbor Monday (2/15/10) to give a talk at the University of Michigan about his work in Ethiopia. Dr. Hodes has been highlighted by CNN “Heroes” program and is the subject of an HBO documentary coming out in April. Hodes first went to Africa in 1984 as a relief worker during the Ethiopian Famine and was hired by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) in 1990 to head up their work in Ethiopia. He is currently a Senior Attending Physician at Mother Theresa’s Mission in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa where he treats 20-25 patients a day – for free.

“Dr. Hodes is by far the most selfless man I've ever met and his work is inspirational,” said U-M freshman Todd Siegal, “He sees an issue, a complication, a child in need, and he acts immediately.”

Dr. Hodes has dedicated his life to helping Ethiopians in desperate need of care. It is as if the entire country knows he is the man to go to for help. He doesn’t seek out patients, he doesn’t advertise his services, and he doesn’t have a website. However, because of his ever-growing reputation, patients come from as far as 400 miles away to knock on Dr. Hodes’ door.

Because funding is always tight, Dr. Hodes has had to get creative when it comes to treating his patients. “I started out giving chemotherapy on my front porch [in Ethiopia],” said Dr. Hodes, “and I really like medicines from India because they are only about 8% of the cost of American drugs.”

A natural storyteller, Dr. Hodes’ tales kept the packed auditorium of over 250 people captivated throughout his entire presentation. Dr. Hodes spoke about two boys who suffered from Pott’s disease, a version of tuberculosis that affects the spine. One’s back jutted out at a 90° angle while the other’s was at 120°. This was a case that not even Dr. Hodes could treat. Rather than rejecting the boys into a world where they didn’t stand no chance, he found a way to help. Dr. Hodes adopted the kids, allowing him to add the boys to his medical insurance and fly them to Dallas for surgery. He has adopted three more kids to his family and has started sending them to high school in the United States.

“When I came to hear Dr. Hodes talk, I knew nothing of what he did or how many lives he has dedicated himself to saving,” said Jonathan Rubins, “As I left the building, I felt a sense of awe. He is a testament to the perennial truth that a great impact can be made by sole individuals.”

WILL WORK FOR FOOD co-sponsored the event with the University of Michigan’s Center for Global Health, School of Public Health, Hillel, Global REACH and Ginsberg Center. WILL WORK FOR FOOD aims to stimulate local community service while raising relief funds to fight child malnutrition abroad.

According to the CEO of WILL WORK FOR FOOD, Steve Weinberg, “Malnutrition is often referred to as the ‘Silent Killer’ in the international aid community because it does not receive the same amount of media attention as natural disasters or armed conflicts. This is part of the reason why we are so inspired by Dr. Hodes’ work of ‘helping people nobody else is interested in.’"

We will be posting a video of Dr. Hodes' talk on our site soon.

If you want to know every time WILL WORK FOR FOOD posts something new to our blog, email willworkforfoodblog@gmail.com with the subject line "Sign me up."

Friday, February 12, 2010

Rep of the Week: Dave Ferrara

Dave Ferrara, a sophomore at Georgetown University in Washington, DC., has already made a huge contribution to WILL WORK FOR FOOD by planning his first work effort and raising an outstanding amount of money from a number of sponsors. To congratulate him for the success he has had so far with his first project, we decided to highlight Dave as this week's Rep of the Week. We wanted to learn a little more about his upcoming work effort, and here's what he had to say:

Q: Can you tell us a little more about your upcoming work effort?
A: Three other participants and I are going to volunteer at the Central Kitchen in Washington, D.C. Since this is our first work effort, we hope this will be an exemplary work effort for people to refer back to in the future. Hopefully future events will include more workers.

Q: How much money have you raised from sponsors so far?
A: We've gotten about $1,250 in total as of now.

Q: Why did you decide to bring WILL WORK FOR FOOD to your campus?
A: I decided to bring WWFF to my campus because I knew Georgetown would be a very beneficial addition to WWFF. I knew we have the potential to have a very successful program here, and I wanted to be the one to lead our campus program.

Q: What was it specifically about WWFF that made you want to get involved?
A: The aspect about WWFF that is the most intriguing is the duality of the service work. Not only do our own communities benefit, but we help people whom we've never met that are equally deserving of our help.

We would just like to say how much we appreciate each and every one of our Campus Reps and the work they put into bringing WWFF to their school. Dave's contribution to WWFF as a Campus Rep is a great example of how the WWFF Rep model works and how easy it is to organize successful projects on campus. A big thank you to everyone who continues to work hard in spreading WWFF all across the nation!

Do you want to bring WWFF to your high school or college? Become a Rep and get started today!

If you want to know every time WILL WORK FOR FOOD posts something new to our blog, email willworkforfoodblog@gmail.com with the subject line "Sign me up."

Monday, February 8, 2010

Dr. Rick Hodes To Speak at U-M

[Dr. Rick Hodes] could have done very well for himself practicing in the United States, but he chose to do something so much harder. He's totally selfless. I've really never met anyone like him.

-Irving Fish, MD, New York University

This Monday, February 15, 2010, Dr. Rick Hodes – a physician well-known for his work with the children of Ethiopia – will be giving a speech at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. Dr. Hodes will be speaking about his many experiences practicing in Africa including the 1984 Ethiopian Famine and his work at Mother Teresa’s Mission in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

Dr. Hodes has dedicated his life to “helping people nobody else is interested in.” Specializing in cancer, heart disease, and spinal conditions, the John Hopkins-graduate has gone above and beyond his profession’s typical job description. The man who has been called “Father Teresa” does whatever it takes to get the necessary treatment to any and every child who comes his way, simply by living by his philosophy of “Don’t say no.” He treats about twenty sick Ethiopians a day, all at no cost to the patient. He has been highlighted by the CNN show, “Heroes,” and is the subject of an upcoming HBO documentary, “Making the Crooked Straight.”

Don’t miss your chance to hear the remarkable stories of the great Dr. Hodes. Hopefully, his work in Ethiopia will inspire you to Get Involved with WILL WORK FOR FOOD, today!

Dr. Rick Hodes
Monday, February 15, 2010
University of Michigan School of Public Health
1415 Washington Heights
SPH I Crossroads 1690
7:00 - 8:00pm

This privilege was made possible by the generous contributions of UM Center for Global Health, UM School of Public Health, Will Work For Food, UM Hillel, Global REACH, and the Ginsberg Center.

If you want to know every time WILL WORK FOR FOOD posts something new to our blog, email willworkforfoodblog@gmail.com with the subject line "Sign me up."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

High Five from WILL WORK FOR FOOD: Robbie Dembo

Every other week, our "High Five" features an internal member of the WILL WORK FOR FOOD Headquarters Team. Robbie Dembo has a strong passion for actually doing work and not just talking about it. Ironically, I just decided to talk about Robbie, as he is the focus of this week's High Five.

Robbie is currently the Director of Community Outreach for WWFF and is always busy trying to find new ways to engage the University of Michigan community with the WWFF initiative. His position requires innovation, creativity, and a willingness to go beyond what is expected of him. But what’s life without a little music? Robbie has decided to share with us his top five most played songs in iTunes:

1) Exit Music (For a Film) – Radiohead
2) No Name #3 – Elliott Smith
3) What is Life – George Harrison
4) Is This What You Wanted – Leonard Cohen
5) Side With the Seeds – Wilco

Robbie also wanted to share with us a favorite quote of his. As said by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.”

If we’ve learned anything from Robbie today, it’s to actually go out there and do something, not just talk about it. If you are able to work for food, you ought to take just a few minutes to register and get started today!

If you want to know every time WILL WORK FOR FOOD posts something new to our blog, email willworkforfoodblog@gmail.com with the subject line "Sign me up."

Leading by Example: WWFF in Ann Arbor

While the WILL WORK FOR FOOD Headquarters Team works mostly behind the scenes in spreading the WWFF initiative, we always try to practice what we preach by volunteering in our community and raising money to fight child malnutrition. Last weekend, we volunteered at the Michigan Abilities Center (MAC) in Ann Arbor. MAC is a powerful organization that develops therapy programs for children and adults who face physical, mental, emotional, or learning challenges. While there, the team learned all about MAC and helped clean, organize, and repair their training facility.

Want to join a work effort on your campus? Find a group and get started today!

If you want to know every time WILL WORK FOR FOOD posts something new to our blog, email willworkforfoodblog@gmail.com with the subject line "Sign me up."

Monday, February 1, 2010

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Natural disasters increase malnutrition

Food For Thought: Countries affected by natural disasters often see an increase in malnutrition among children.

The recent earthquake in Haiti has left over one million people without sufficient shelter or substantial access to food and water. The earthquake destroyed the country's infrastructure and has left the population reliant on international aid.

It was estimated that approximately 20 percent of kids in Haiti were undernourished before the earthquake. The current crisis is expected to make these numbers skyrocket since the earthquake disrupted reliable access to food and water.

Children under the age of five are the most likely to become severely malnourished because they need so many nutrients for proper growth and development. If a child becomes malnourished they are then more susceptible to other dangerous health concerns facing the people of Haiti such as fatal respiratory and bacterial infections.

WILL WORK FOR FOOD raises money to help our affiliate Doctors Without Borders fight malnutrition. Although we used to specifically support their work in Darfur, we recently branched out to help in other regions of the world as well.

Doctors Without Borders is on the ground in Haiti working around the clock to help save Haitians that are desperately in need. The WILL WORK FOR FOOD Team is distraught by the crisis in Haiti and ready to support our affiliate organization by helping to fund their efforts. This is why we are now giving our participants the option of designating the funds they raise through WILL WORK FOR FOOD to be used in Haiti.

Visit our website to Get Involved and for more information on how to support Doctors Without Borders in Haiti through WILL WORK FOR FOOD.

If you want to know every time WILL WORK FOR FOOD posts something new to our blog, email willworkforfoodblog@gmail.com with the subject line "Sign me up."