Saturday, November 12, 2011

High Five to UNC's Troy Homesley!

As as sophomore, Troy Homesley has already made incredible strides towards building the WWFF chapter and morale at UNC Chapel Hill. Check out what he has to say about his role in WWFF and where he finds inspiration!

Tell us about yourself. How did you get involved with WILL WORK FOR FOOD? What you do for the organization?
One of the best experiences during my time at UNC has been the establishment and development of UNC's chapter of WWFF. My freshman year, I was contacted by Ben Vollmer, co-founder of this chapter, and he told me what WWFF was all about. The philosophy behind WWFF intrigued me, it intrigued me because it was something much more than a volunteer organization and had much higher goals than merely raising money. That's when I decided to become involved. One year later, WWFF has received UNC recognition and new members join daily. Today, I also serve as the Chair of the Volunteer, we oversee the development and implementation of weekl Committee y work efforts.

This past summer, I was in India for two months working on an education development project in a local slum area. Through my work in India, I gained a better appreciation for the fact that the work that we do at WWFF has very meaningful and far-reaching effects upon countless human beings. To see the suffering of starving children and families allowed me to understand the dire needs of places such as India, Somalia, the French Horn and other areas around the world. The realization of this need motivated me to come back to campus and do my best to help WWFF help others.

Please describe the event for which you raised money recently. Was this donation expected? How did you feel after receiving such a donation?
Recently, we organized a work effort to help clean up a local park known as Battle Park. We met at the park around 10:00 a.m. and went through to clear out weeds that would otherwise turn the park into a monoculture. This is an event we volunteer at multiple times each year, and something that leaves a tangible difference at the end of the day. I created the work effort and soon I had my first donations rolling in. Not only was I getting donations, but so were others from UNC who had signed up for the work effort. It's a great feeling to know that people are putting their money where their mouth is and literally pledging to support local volunteering and global action simultaneously.

What else do you partake in outside of WWFF?
Outside of WWFF, I am a member of the UNC Attorney General's Staff, a captain of the Carolina Mock Trial Team and a founder of The Sigma Phi Society. I am majoring in Political Science and Philosophy and I hope to attend law school after I complete my undergraduate studies. In the meantime, I pride myself on being a friend of the one and only Ben Vollmer.

List the top 5 places you wish to travel to:
1.) Iran
2.) Turkey
3.) Chile
4.) Nepal
5.) Israel

Many thanks to Troy Homesley, Ben Vollmer, Peter Helvie, Jesse Marques, and everyone else at the WWFF chapter at UNC for continuing to accomplish amazing things. We look forward to hearing about your future efforts!
Don't forget to follow us on Twitter at @willwork4_food
Or "Like" us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WillWorkForFood.org

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."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Drought in Somalia

Did you know that it has been over 100 days since famine was declared in Somalia?
As our goal is to help malnourished children around the globe, the current condition in Somalia is extremely relevant to our cause. This past summer, Somalia experienced one of the worst droughts in 60 years and has caused famine. Tens of thousands of Somalis have died and others have fled to neighboring countries.
How bad really is it?
Between July and September, over 110,000 malnourished children in the region were taken to health centers due to moderate and severe malnutrition.
What is America doing to help?
Aid groups around the country have raised about $60 million from private donors. While this should not be overlooked, it is noticeably lower than the $1.29 billion that we raised for Haiti.
What can you do to help the cause?
Get involved and raise sponsors--“volunteer locally to save children globally!”

Click here to see a video of a three-year-old boy who had severe acute malnutrition, the most extreme kind. He is one of the 336,000 children who suffer from this malnutrition across Somalia. Yet, after two months of treatment with therapeutic foods and medication, he is currently recovering!

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, October 24, 2011

Lauren Hasday's Experience in Bogota!

University of Michigan graduate, Lauren Hasday, tells us about her experience living in Bogota and her unbelievable work. She was a very active member of Will Work For Food while she was at Michigan and is continuing her community service in Bogota. We sent her some questions and she was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer them for us. They are below:

1) Who you are, what you are all about, how did you get involved with WILL WORK FOR FOOD, what you do for the organization, anything else cool that you do outside of WWFF?

I just graduated from U-M in April with a degree in Psychology, History and Women’s Studies. I’m originally from Long Island, but I’m living in Bogota, Colombia for the year teaching English, travelling and learning Spanish. I got involved with Will Work for Food my junior year because my friend told me about it and it sounded really interested. I’m really into social responsibility and giving back to the community so I thought WWFF had a really great philosophy reaching out to our local community and the world at large. I started out as a Regional Manager organizing and maintaining relationships with reps from other colleges in the US. I moved on my senior year to be a member of the marketing team helping with some publicity and website stuff and the larger U-M events.

2) What are you currently doing/working on for WWFF?

Right now since I graduated I am just doing some volunteering, I am teaching English to wounded soldiers on an army and a navy battalion in Bogota. We are teaching them English as a marketable skill that could help them get a job in the future. We teach basic conversation and vocabulary that will be useful in their day-to-day lives. It’s a pretty good experience because many of the men I am teaching haven’t had very much formal education and it’s cool to see their progress week-to-week. I immediately thought of WWFF when I got started so I asked Steve if I could get it sponsored so that I could stay connected to the club because I really enjoyed working for WWFF in school.

3) A top five list of a category such as "Favorite Things About Fall," "Favorite Things About Halloween," "Places I'd Like To Visit," "Favorite TV Shows," or any other category that you can think of.

Top Five Places I’d Like to Visit: 1. Cairo 2. Santorini 3. Budapest 4. Jerusalem 5. Abu Dhabi

Lauren, thanks so much for telling us about your experience in Bogota.  We love to hear about the good work our WWFF members are doing around the world!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

High Five From WILL WORK FOR FOOD: Elizabeth Watchowski

This installment of the WILL WORK FOR FOOD High Five features Elizabeth Watchowski, a University of Michigan freshman who, back in mid-March, had one of the most impressive performances during the highly successful HQ Team Food Drive. Elizabeth, who decided to volunteer for the Food Drive with her Delta Delta Delta sorority, managed to raise $2,440 from nearly 30 different sponsors, all in less than 48 hours!

Elizabeth found that getting sponsored for her volunteer work wasn't complicated, it just took a little time and thoughtful effort. She started out by sending the generic WWFF-provided email to prospective sponsors before following up with her own personalized note, sending both to her entire list of online contacts as well as those of her parents. And while Elizabeth acknowledges that her success is largely due to "the extreme generosity of [her] friends and family," her strategy of getting sponsored obviously proved to be successful. It's a simple concept (personalizing emails and sending follow-ups), but doggone it, it works.

Following the Food Drive, Elizabeth mentioned that it was her first experience with WILL WORK FOR FOOD, but that it won't be her last. We are glad to hear that and look forward to having Elizabeth on board for future WWFF-HQ Team events. And since she'll be sticking around, why not get to know Elizabeth a little more. And is there any better way to get to know somebody new than finding out their favorite PG rated Youtube videos? There isn't. And that's why we are proud to present Elizabeth Watchowski's


1) Charlie Bit My Finger
2) Slow Loris with a Tiny Umbrella
3) Old Guy Techno Raver
4) St. Patricks' Day Leprechaun March
5) Twin Baby Boys Having a Conversation

Elizabeth may have just started working for food but she has already made a name for herself. It just goes to show how easy it is to translate the volunteer work you do into sponsorships that go fight malnutrition abroad. All you need to do is get involved 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."

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pre-Event Highlight: UNC Battle Park Cleanup & Block Party

From 10am-12pm on April 2nd, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, WILL WORK FOR FOOD-UNC will be hosting the Battle Park Cleanup. More than 20 volunteers are expected to take part in this service project which aims to beautify Battle Park, located on-campus at the University of North Carolina.

"[Battle Park] is a great place for students to run, hike, or just hang out," said WWFF-UNC Co-Chapter Represntative, Ben Vollmer, "This will be the second time we've helped to clean up Battle Park."

Following the service project, students at UNC are invited to attend a Block Party on Amity Court. There, attendees will be treated to food and live music, all intended to raise awareness for the UNC Chapter of WILL WORK FOR FOOD. According to Vollmer, the Block Party was the brainchild of marketing manager, Jayce Walker.

"We've just finished applying for official university recognition, which we should have in the fall, and we wanted to make the student body familiar with WILL WORK FOR FOOD," said Vollmer, "Jayce contacted a number of bands to play and really took the lead on this project."

With the help of their other Chapter Rep, Peter Helvie, as well as everyone else at WWFF-UNC, our folks down in Chapel Hill certainly are on the quick path to success. Great job Tar Heels and good luck this weekend with the Battle Park Cleanup and Block Party!

WILL WORK FOR FOOD is fortunate to have many great chapters all over the country. It seems like every week, another great work effort s is being hosted by WWFF somewhere. If you think you have what it takes to be a great Chapter Rep and come up with your own service events, learn how you can become a Chapter Rep 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."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Event Highlight Update: Top Teams from the HQ Food Drive

The WILL WORK FOR FOOD Headquarters Team's Food Drive (March 11-12) was a through and through success ($6,000 raised and 3012 pounds of food collected). With the final numbers in, we are excited to announce our top teams! First off, Team Delta:

Led by team captain Becca Kendis, Team Delta raised $3,460. We appreciate all of the hard work each and every team put into the Food Drive, but Team Delta particularly blew us away with their unprecedented success with fundraising.
Team Delta was comprised of 10 members of the University of Michigan's Delta Delta Delta chapter. After being informed about WILL WORK FOR FOOD by an academic advisor, Becca attended a WWFF Food Drive mass meeting back in January, where she decided to become a team captain. Utilzing the outreach resources provided to team captains from WWFF, Becca was able to organize Team Delta and get them on track to raise their record sum with support from friends and families.

"We feel very fortunate that our team members' families and friends were incredibly supportive of our efforts and responded so generously," said Becca.

Understanding that not everyone is in a position to donate generously, it was definitely helpful that the members of Team Delta reached out to nearly 100 friends and family asking them to contribute.

One member of Team Delta did an especially outstanding job. In less than 24 hours, Elizabeth Watchowski managed to raise $1,835 from over a dozen different family members and friends that sponsored her! The donations kept rolling in and Elizabeth ended up raising $2,400 from about 25 sponsors. Look for another blog post coming soon about how Elizabeth had so much success.

Another noteworthy performance came from Team KKG. This team, led by Lucy Przybylski, Stephanie Priel, and Jess Lazar, worked its way to raising $1,150. Jess, the designated team captain, mentioned that she had so much success fundraising by simply sending a pre-drafted email from WWFF out to over a dozen family members and friends. It definitely helped that Jess wrote a compelling bio in her WWFF profile and also followed up with an additional personalized email to them all.

"Almost everyone that I emailed donated," Jess said, "I am really lucky to have such generous and supportive people in my life."

And WILL WORK FOR FOOD is lucky to have had such great people working hard to ensure the food drive's success. Becca, Elizabeth, Jess and the rest of our "Workers" that participated in the food drive and got sponsored perfectly demonstrate how big of an impact you can have when you just get involved and ask friends and family to support your work.

We couldn't have pulled off this food drive without our team captains, volunteers, and of course everyone that contributed as a sponsor. We sincerely thank everyone that was involved! We also encourage you all to continue volunteering locally to save children globally!

Want to get involved with WILL WORK FOR FOOD but you don't know how? Stop thinking and dive right in!

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, March 14, 2011

Event Highlight: HQ Team Food Drive

Based in Ann Arbor, MI, the WILL WORK FOR FOOD Headquarters Team works very hard to ensure WWFF spreads itself into high schools and colleges across the nation diligently and successfully. With goal-setting, branding, and consulting services, dozens of (mostly) University of Michigan (UofM) students spend dozens of hours each week ensuring WILL WORK FOR FOOD's success. This past weekend, however, the WWFF-HQ Team practiced what it preaches and hosted a large-scale event at UofM:

The HQ Team Food Drive.

The Food Drive was a two-day event that started on Friday, March 11th. Groups, led by designated and trained team captains, were assigned neighborhoods near the Michigan campus and around Ann Arbor where they flyered and distributed collection bags to nearly 1,000 houses advertising the food dirve. Then, the next day from 12-3pm, volunteers spent their afternoons collecting canned goods left out by residents on their porches. Following the collection, each group returned to campus for a sorting party at which the HQ Team, Team Captains and volunteers gathered to see the impressive amount of food that they gathered.
"It was really inspiring to see so many students who truly wanted to make a difference." ~Levi Barry, WWFF Evaluation Manager
The final weigh-in for collected canned goods came in at a whopping 3,012 lbs. That is heavier than most mid-sized cars! Every pound of that food went to Food Gatherers, an Ann Arbor-based food bank that provides over 10,000 meals a day for those in Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County who are in need.

With over 15 groups and over 80 volunteers, this group of dedicated U-M students did the Maize & Blue proud en route to raising over $5,000 (as of 3/14/11; new donations continue to pour in).

Levi Barry, a U-M junior and in his second year as WWFF's Evaluation Manager, was very impressed with the dedication put in by the volunteers and Team Captains, especially considering the timing of the event.

"Because so many of the volunteers' friends were spending this past Friday and Saturday partying in preparation for St. Patricks's Day [this coming Thursday], it was really inspiring to see these students who truly wanted to make a difference dedicate their weekend to making the Food Drive a success."

While a number of Food Drive volunteers have been a part of WILL WORK FOR FOOD's HQ Team for at least a few months, many were participating in their first WWFF event.

"I decided to be a team captain because it seemed like a great opportunity to
get some leadership experience and to help out a worthy cause," freshman Lauren Nieman said, "I think this type of event has a strong future at U-M because it was a great way for college students to get involved in the community while also helping malnourished kids abroad without taking up too much time from their busy schedules."

And with these kinds of endorsement from Michigan underclassmen, it is easy to understand why the future of WILL WORK FOR FOOD has the students at U-M so excited.

"I think it's great that WILL WORK FOR FOOD at Michigan is now practicing what it preaches," said Barry, "I look forward to next year's Food Drive as we work to build upon the success of this year's."

And they will.

Be on the lookout for blog posts this week about top captains and participants from the Food Drive.

There are so many great work efforts that have gone on across America through WILL WORK FOR FOOD, and it's easy to bring WWFF to your school. Don't hesitate, become a WWFF Rep 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."

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Event Highlight: Hunger Banquet @ OSU

Last Wednesday (2/23/11), WWFF-OSU, led by campus rep Molly Morse, raised $275 by participating in the "Hunger Banquet". The event was put on by an Ohio State Honors College service organization - Serving With Honor - and is a yearly event that WWFF-OSU hopes to be a part of on a traditional basis.

"Before the event we thought if we could raise about $80, we would all be happy," said Morse, "When we realized that we had raised $275 we were over the moon since it is only our first year on campus."

At the Hunger Banquet - where all proceeds went to WILL WORK FOR FOOD - WWFF-OSU gave a presentation about their work and the organization which was followed by a screening of the Doctors Without Borders documentary, Starved For Attention. At the end of the event, everyone signed a petition to change the nutritional guidelines for donated food aid. The petition will be presented to world leaders at the G8 summit in May by Doctors Without Borders representatives.

While the Hunger Banquet at Ohio State did a great job of spreading the WILL WORK FOR FOOD message, the "main event" was easily the coolest part of the entire experience. Finding a creative way to express global food inequality, participants were randomly divided into 3 classifications and received a meal based on their classification. The smallest group of participants was in the "Wealthy Class" and was served a 3-course meal of lasagna, salad, and desert. The next group, modestly larger than the wealthy class was the "Middle Class" who had to wait in line to receive one slice of pizza and water. Finally, the largest class (which made up the majority of the participants) was the "Lower Class" who had to wait in line to receive only a small plate of rice. After everyone had their meal, participants were seated at a table that had people from each classification in order to facilitate discussion about class inequalities, especially pertaining to food.

With the advice of their faculty advisor, Julie Humbel, WWFF-OSU's core team of Morse, Megan Bennett, and Adrienne Darah got in contact with Serving With Honor about volunteering at the Hunger Banquet as a work effort. Impressed with WILL WORK FOR FOOD, however, it was decided that the focus of the 2011 Hunger Banquet would be on global hunger and that all of the proceeds benefited WILL WORK FOR FOOD. This certainly got Morse excited about the event.

"The Hunger Banquet was a really great idea and we were just lucky enough to be a part of it. I really hope that we can continue to do something similar in the future to benefit WILL WORK FOR FOOD because the participants really seemed to respond well to the discussion about global food inequality and child malnutrition."

I encourage you to learn more about world hunger and the work Doctors Without Borders does. And while your at it, if you are interested in finding a group that is as involved with spreading these important messages like the girls at Ohio State are, don't hesitate; get involved 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."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

WWFF Participant Spotlight: Lauren Yaffe

This past Monday (1/17/2011), schools, workplaces, and many other activities and establishments took a break to observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This federal holiday is at times viewed as "just another excuse to get a day off," but since 1994, it has been much more than that. When then-President Bill Clinton signed off on King Holiday and Service Act, MLK Jr. Day became (to many) Martin Luther King Day of Service.

The idea of having a day of service every year in mid-January has been a great way to honor Dr. King and his ideas of nonviolent activism. WILL WORK FOR FOOD has always been a great supporter of MLK Service Day and we would like to honor one member who has continually done an excellent job raising money for the WWFF cause through Service Day work efforts.

Lauren Yaffe heard about WILL WORK FOR FOOD from her cousin, co-founder Steve Weinberg. She was automatically inspired by WWFF's slogan: Volunteering locally to help children globally.

"I think that donating to sponor someone's work effort is a really ingenious idea," Yaffe said, "[It]is a strong motivator for people to donate because their money is turning into action!"

This past MLK Service Day, Lauren raised $515 in the fight against child malnutrition, bringing her to an impressive 3-year Service Day total of $1,010!

"Dr. King believed that giving back to the community was crucial and this day is to honor his legacy," added Yaffe.

During past MLK Service Days, Yaffe has taught at an after-school program intended to educate children on Martin Luther King, Jr. and diversity, created murals and paintings for a elementary school on the South Side of Chicago, and - most recently - volunteered at a homeless shelter on Chicago's North Side organizing clothing donations for the homeless.

When it is not MLK Service Day, Lauren Yaffe likes to volunteer through Chicago Cares and has attended several professional networking events that allow her to merge her business interests with philanthropy. For example, she attended a charitable networking event for a law firm where the attendees assembled gift bags that were sent to the Battered Women's Shelter.

Lauren Yaffe's involvement has been inspiring and is a perfect demonstration of how powerful the WILL WORK FOR FOOD model can be. According to Yaffe, her secret to success is something we are all capable of: taking pride in what you do. While she has never been shy in asking for donations from family, friends, and co-workers, Yaffe has made it a point to always personalize her messages to let everyone know exactly how she is involved.

"Volunteering in the community is truly a way of giving back to society and focusing your time and energy on an initiative that is close to your heart. Also, any time you can give is better than nothing, whether it is once a year, once a month or once a week," Yaffe said, "Volunteering doesn't have to be a full day affair - any time that someone can give is better than nothing and will make a difference.

Would you like to make a difference? Have a minute? Get involved with WILL WORK FOR FOOD 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."