Its funny but as I write this I remember spending several hours mulling over the title for last years UK dine to save a life event..

I think theres a bit of me thats still uncomfortable asking people for money so I wanted the event to sound very up beat. Some charities have a habit of making the fundraising process quite depressing with there images of naked children and sombre music tracks. But YWAV arent like that, they are very positive and celebrational in the success of their projects.

One point of Interest is in the very different ways that John and I work. I tend to go for a less is more approach whereas I think John tends to write out 6 thousand word proposals in his sleep! And he is quite a demon at marketing... I think he could show some British charities a thing or two. Chow down for children was quite a simple premise, eat food, and invite your mates around. And give some money to your host who will give that money to YWAV.

 

 

I tried to stress that this meal could be a banquet or could be a fish finger sandwich. It didn't have to be anything grandiose. The important thing was breaking bread with your mates or family and helping children who didn't have such families to feed them in Uganda. But this is where I hit problems... This was about the time when the UK was going through a crisis with its culture of dining.

 

School meals were vilified for their high-fat contents and super Chefs were selling millions of books while the TV schedule showed programmes every night about how not only to cook good food but impress your friends and family. So there was an increase in the way people in the UK were viewing food and there was huge snobbery about which foods were cool (mostly expensive and organic) and which were not. So I found that the Chow Down for Children project while being simple and straightforward, also brought out peoples neurosis about the trendy-ness of their dinner time menus.

 

People worried about what other people would think of their fayre and some people wanted to go to other peoples events rather than entertain themselves. This was quite crazy as the whole aim of the project was to help support poor children in Masaka whose families had died of AIDS and for whom education, food and clean water was a privilege not a given. It seems crazy that we are worrying over which variety of blueberry to eat while just the basics are such a struggle for John and his team at YWAV.

 

 But rather than use this as a philosophical point to (cue the sombre music) remark on the economic divide and the selfishness of western society. I'm going to take a leaf out of John's book and turn this into a marketing opportunity. 

 

This year, rather than people holding events in their homes, I'm going to organise one large ticketed event which people can go to. This could also have entertainment of some sort included, maybe some comedy or cabaret. This could help to brand the chow down for children project and make it easier for people to give money, while not having to cook themselves. I have been running a comedy evening in Bristol for a year now

so maybe I could see if we can get a Chow down and chuckle for Children event.. Ah, there's this year's title...Plus the comedy element means that this years project will be even more upbeat... so it will encourage people to put their hands in their pockets and give more cash to YWAV. Which is the whole point after all.

 

Anyway got to go, I'm off to get a fish finger sandwich for tea.

 

Much love

 

Angie Belcher

 

Please fundraise for Youth With A Vision

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My name is Stacey Frumm and I am a student at Amherst College in the US. When I first learned about Youth With A Vision (YWAV), I was struck by the depth of their goals and programs, as well as the dedication of their volunteers.

The organization captured my attention, and when I heard about the Dine to Save a Life event, I knew I had to participate.

I recruited four friends (Jodie Simms, Maria Rosasco, Conor McDowell, and Sam Grausz) to host a brunch on December 1st, 2007 (World AIDS Day).

We all pitched in and prepared the entire meal ourselves. After much debate, we settled on the following menu: pancakes (blueberry and chocolate chip), coffee cake, potatoes, chocolate chip scones, oatmeal molasses bread, kugel (a sweet noodle casserole), bacon sausage, and fruit salad. Since we are university students, the event was very relaxed.

We invited fifty people, knowing not all of them would come. In the end, around thirty attended. The brunch was served buffet-style; guests helped themselves to the food and stood around and talked and laughed. We gave a small presentation about YWAV so that all in attendance understood the organization they were helping. People's generosity was overwhelming. YWAV is a wonderful organization with a truly inspiring purpose, and the Dine to Save a Life event allowed us to gather with friends and share a meal to support YWAVs initiatives.

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