Tag Archives: The Mission List

With The Lunch Money Challenge From the World Food Program USA You Can Help #FeedADream

With The Lunch Money Challenge From the World Food Program USA You Can Help #FeedADream

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During a conference call with the World Food Program USA, over the phone from Kenya, Fatuma Mohamed credited the school meals program with helping to get her where she is today. Fatuma is a senior programme assistant with the World Food Programme in Dadaab, Kenya with a university degree.  Not the outcome that would normally have been predicted for the Somalian daughter of a financially struggling widow growing up in Kenya’s northeastern province. At that time, the Somali community did not even believe in allowing girls to go to school.

Her mother had little money and faced hostility from their family because she refused to be inherited as Fatuma’s father’s brother’s wife. Although her mother had no formal education herself, she knew how important an education would be to her children.


Fatuma Mohamed

Not only did sending her children to school provide the education that enabled Fatuma to avoid her destiny to drop out of school to tend cattle, but through the World Food Program Fatuma and her siblings were provided a school meal each day. For some children living in poverty, that school meal provided may be their ONLY meal of the day.

In the developing world, 66 million kids come to school hungry each day. many children don’t attend school at all. Poverty and tradition often exclude girls from education.

In Nairobi, Kenya, less than half of school-age children attend formal schools, due to poverty, safety and girls being unfairly excluded from school.

Malnutrition at an early age leads to reduced physical and mental development. Hungry kids in school focus on their empty stomachs, not their studies.

School meals can be life-changing for the world’s poorest children. School meals also help to get students into the classroom, giving them an important key to a better future—an education.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) provides school meals to more than 24 million children each year. School feeding also gives poor families an incentive to send children to school, especially girls.

25 cents provides a child with a nutritious meal, $50 provides school lunch for a child for an entire year.

 From October 14th to october 18th The World Food Program USA Invites you to take part in The Lunch Money Challenge.

Research tells us that nearly $2,000.00 a year is spent on average to eat lunch out at work by the two-thirds of Americans who do.  If a person brought their lunch and donated the money they otherwise would have spent to buy it, then donated that money to the World Food Program USA‘s Lunch Money Challenge this week, they could feed a hungry school child for a year.

WFPUSA works with countries interested in owning and managing their school meals programs, to make them strong and sustainable. Helping communities become self sufficient is one of the ways that WFPUSA is solving hunger worldwide, by working with local governments, schools and farmers to build programs that are long lasting sustainable and cost-effective and when the WFPUSA work is done, local governments can take over and manage these programs. Home-grown school meals from local family farmers lift up the entire community—local ingredients mean both local children and local farmers can thrive.  When school meal programs are linked with local family farmers, kids receive home-grown school meals. Not only do home-grown school meals programs improve child nutrition, they also boost local economies.

Photo Courtesy of WFP USA

Photo Courtesy of WFP USA

These days Fatuma encourages the girls she works with in the program to stay in school. When girls stay in school they tend to marry at an older age, have fewer children, and increase their earning potential.  Fatuma’s relationship with the World Food Program goes back to when she was just 7 years old and she serves as a great example of the programs ability to transform lives.

 “Women are the foundation of every society and girls grow into women and need to be supported. Nothing can move forward in the world without women, mothers, and girls.”-Fatuma Mohamed

World Food Program USA (WFP USA) works to solve global hunger by supporting the work of the united nations World Food programme (WFP) through fundraising, advocacy and education in the united nations. WFP works in over 75 countries, saving lives in emergencies, providing school meals to hungry children, improving nutrition of the most vulner- able people at critical times in their lives and helping build the self-reliance of people and communities.

missionlistlogo copy*This sponsored post is part of a campaign with The Mission List and the World Food Program USA. All opinions are my own. Facts from the WFPUSA.

Cooking With Kids; ChopChop Invites You To The #BigPicnic

Cooking With Kids; ChopChop Invites You To The #BigPicnic

ChopChop Big PicnicParsnip and Dill, I tell my kids. Those are my secret ingredients for delicious chicken soup. Well not my recipe I confess, but passed on to me by Grandma Nettie, Auntie Kimbo’s grandmother. They know that “Auntie” Kimbo is not really their aunt, and that her name is Kim (Kimberly but don’t tell her I told you!).  They also know that Kim and I have been friends since we were six, and somewhere Kim turned into Kimbo, as those things go with longtime childhood friends.

In any case, my kids and I love to cook together and it has been fun as they grow to watch them conquer more and more complex cooking tasks on their own. And by complex I mean my 10-year-old is up to the cracking the eggs into a bowl without bits of shell getting in. One of the most rewarding moments of motherhood so far was the birthday morning that I woke up to heart-shaped pancakes made for me by my 13-year-old daughter. My child had cooked for me , and that felt revolutionary.

I like to cook with them for the same reason that I like to keep a small (o.k. weed infested) garden in our backyard. I like for them to know where their food comes from. To understand the process of how what we put into our body is made, and that they can make food for themselves, it does not have to come in a package or be bought off a shelf. We had been big fans of the quarterly publication ChopChop Magazine for years, loving to try the healthful recipes and snack suggestions within its colorful pages. ChopChop is a non-profit  with the mission to inspire and teach kids to cook and eat real food with their families.

Currently, 1 out of 400 children under 18 in the U.S. has diabetes, and nearly 1 in 3 is obese. ChopChop’s goal is to reverse this trend by teaching kids and their parents how to create healthy, delicious meals that are easy to prepare and use fresh, nutritious ingredients. ChopChop doesn’t demonize particular foods or use scare tactics. They just offer simple, healthy, and affordable recipes for children and parents to make together.

When we found out ChopChop had come out with a  ChopChop cookbook  we were thrilled.   We were sent a copy as a lead up to our participation in The Big Picnic, and when we received our copy of the cookbook  I had the kids pick out a recipe for us to try.  With four kids coming to a consensus can be challenging to say the least, this time somehow they all enthusiastically agreed that they wanted to make Matzo Balls to add to Grandma Nettie’s Chicken Soup.

The ChopChop Cookbook is made for kids so it is easy for them to read and follow the well explained simple recipes. Personally I never knew I could make Matzo balls, so to find them so easy to make surprised me. Of course the kids all wanted to crack the eggs so I was grateful that the recipe they chose called for 6! Of course rolling the Matzo balls was the most fun, but watching them fluff up as they cooked came pretty close.

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Inspired by National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month in September, The Big Picnic is being hosted on September 22nd by ChopChop and partner organizations including The White House as a virtual community picnic in which families across the country will cook and eat together at their own picnics. It will be a fun event with a serious goal: preventing childhood obesity.  Who doesn’t love a picnic!?! They are a great way to remind us that cooking and eating healthy food together is lots of fun—a time to share and enjoy. This event is all about good food and good company!

You can join The Big Picnic however you like, spread out a blanket , eat at a picnic table – outside or in. Invite friends, family,  neighbors, and make it as simple or as elaborate as you want. Take pictures or video and share with the hashtag #bigpicnic, and as a participant you will be eligible to win prizes like subscriptions to the magazine, a copy of the  ChopChop cookbook or other fun surprises. We’ll be there, eating our Matzo Ball Soup!

You can also Enter to Win a ChopChop cookbook and a one-year ChopChop Magazine subscription Below!
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This is an original post written by me as part of a program with The Mission List. I received a ChopChop cookbook + magazine subscription for culinary inspiration; as always all opinions are my own.




Shop For Good With Indego Africa

Shop For Good With Indego Africa

fabric patterns on set of note cards

When I was in my early twenties I spent six months traveling through the African continent on a trip that  would shape me in countless ways. The previous year and a half had been consumed working on a television series in Boston called “Against The Law”, which was Fox’s first foray into a dramatic T.V. series starring Michael O’Keefe. I had managed to save most of my earnings working 12 hour days during six day work weeks on the show, so when it was cancelled, instead of deciding to do something practical, like put it towards a car, I decided that I wanted to use that money to go to Africa. When I began to research my trip I realized that I could not pick  just one region, such as the game parks of Kenya and Tanzania, or the Okavango delta, because it would be to miss out on so much else. I finally found a trip that satisfied my budget and my desire to get a good glimpse of the rich and varied landscapes, and cultures of the continent.  It was an overland trip that would take me through Morocco and the Sahara desert, the plains filled with big game, into the Jungles to track Gorillas.  We went to the Ngorongoro crater, the Okavango Delta, Zanzibar, the salt pans, and through countless villages along the way. The trip was run by a company out of London called Encounter Overland, and we drove through Africa in an old revamped Bedford army truck, shopped at local markets, cooked our meals over the fires we would build, and camped in tents along the way. All of my essentials fit into a 2×4 backpack as I set out on my adventure. I have been an Africaphile ever since, the people, the cultures, music,varying landscapes, art, patterns and fabrics, all touched my soul in a way that is difficult to articulate.

“When you see the skies of Africa, they are so huge and you almost look into the eye of God. I can’t explain it, there’s something that enters your soul.”- Nejma Beard in an interview by Alec Baldwin on wnyc radio

Since my trip, all things African have a special place in my heart and I also feel passionate about promoting social enterprise companies, so I was thrilled when I was invited by The Mission List to check out some of the products from Indego Africa.  Indego Africa provides training, education, and access to a global online market to Rwandan women artisans who create beautiful jewelry, housewares, and accessories. It provides opportunities for women so they are able to provide the basic necessities for their families and acquire a skill that will lend to sustainable income.


  • Indego Africa is an award-winning, design-driven 501(c)(3) nonprofit social enterprise that lifts women-owned businesses in Rwanda toward sustainable economic independence through access to markets and education.
  • Indego Africa partners with for-profit cooperatives of more than 400 women artisans in Rwanda and exports, markets, and sells their jewelry, accessories, and home decor (a) on its online store, (b) to more than 80 retail stores across the U.S. and Europe, and (c) at major brands like J.Crew and Nicole Miller through cutting-edge design collaborations.
  • Indego Africa then pools its profits from sales with donations to fund training programs – developed internally from the ground up – for the same women in management and entrepreneurshipliteracy,technology, and health.
  • Indego Africa hires top Rwandan university students from socially vulnerable backgrounds to administer its training programs.
  • Indego Africa has offices in New York City and Rwanda and is managed by a lean and diverse team with extensive experience in development, business, design, law, commerce, fashion, and Africa.
  • Indego Africa is a proud member of the Fair Trade Federation and the subject of a Harvard Business School case study.  – From the Indigo Africa website

My love of Africa is apparent in our home as well, in treasures that I brought back, and influences in our decorating style. The Indego Africa online catalog is full of the type of textured, colorful, and richly designed clothing, accessories and home goods that I love. Although I will most certainly go back for more (I’m looking at you batik top!) since we are in the process of decorating our home I selected an item from the housewares selection.  I chose a striking black and white woven bowl, and because I love the fabrics so much, I added a set of gorgeous handmade cards each with a different patterned fabric sewn on to my order.   I was surprised at how quickly my order arrived after it was placed. The bowl is amazing, and I will have a hard time actually parting with the note cards, so if you get one you know you are really special!  I am so excited to share this site with friends, and to have found a great new source for meaningful gifts that give back! To find out more about Indego Africa, the programs they offer, the impact they are having, and that you can contribute to, you can visit their website, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and enjoy the eye candy on Pinterest.

the pretty packet of cards

*I received a $75.00 Redeemable Gift Code to shop on the Indego Africa site for the purpose of this review. As always all of the opinions expressed in this post are my own and not swayed by outside influences. Indego Africa truly rocks.

Dive In!

Dive In!

Today on day 10, the Last Day of our campaign for Water.org through The Mission List, I want to say thank you to all of those who have read my blog, and to congratulate you. Together we have made a difference. 114 people, who did not have access to clean water before we began 10 days ago, now will. Thanks to you! All because of your re-posting, re-tweeting, donations and comments that helped to raise awareness, and funds to make this happen.  We have made a difference! If you would like to start your own Water.org campaign, to continue this good work,  Dive In!

Click on the photo below to watch the short water.org video.

Water.org Click on Image to watch video

The Drops That Filled A Bucket

The Drops That Filled A Bucket

……As single drops of water fill a bucket, so do small deeds of good.

– Buddha

Photo Courtesy of Water.org

A diverse group of bloggers was assembled by The mission List to join forces in a Water.org campaign 10 Days 10 Lives. Our goal over 10 days was to collectively raise enough money to provide 100 people clean water for life. This was a passion project for all of us. Some are mothers who cannot stand the thought of another mother having to lose her child from an easily preventable disease due to unclean water. Others have families who have been directly impacted by the lack of access to water, or they are travelers who have seen first hand the challenges of developing nations in water crisis. So for nine days we have blogged, tweeted, and posted in all our social media outlets, raising awareness and funds towards our goal. And we did it! By day 9 we have reached our goal of providing clean water to 100 people, and 13 more! Now with one day left we are inspired! We are inspired by what we were able to achieve together as a group. Now we want to see how far over that goal we can get by the end of our campaign tomorrow. $25.00 can provide clean water for life for one person, and there is still time to donate. Below is a shout out o all of the amazing bloggers who participated along side me in this campaign! It is truly amazing what can be achieved by small acts of good when pooled together.

Although we reached above and beyond our goal, there are so many others in need of water resources, and you can still help with us until tomorrow night, or as always with Water.org .
Below is a shout out to all of the bloggers who worked to reach our goal! Congratulations ladies!

Photo courtesy of Water.org

http://www.documama.org (and me of course!)
You can view all of our Water.org blog posts on Pinterest