The Way You Give Inspires Our Work: Seven Stories From Donors Who Help Us Save Lives

World Food Program USA
November 12, 2020

Tis the season for gratitude and giving. In that spirit, we’re celebrating with these stories of donors who’ve given from their hearts and piggy banks to fund the United Nations World Food Programme’s (WFP) work around the world.

We so deeply value every single gift from our supporters, whether it’s $35 from a seven year old boy in Massachusetts or $100,000 from a former Miss USA. Every donation saves lives, and we couldn’t be more grateful. Here are a few stories – in their own words – of why our supporters give what they give.

Michele Honors Her Father

 

A young woman sits on a couch next to her father, his arm around her.

Michele Kilo and her father

When Michele’s Lebanese-born father passed away, she started a GoFundMe to support our work in Lebanon – a country facing turmoil, political unrest and a great deal of hunger. She raised over $15,000 in a matter of weeks.

“My family and I care deeply about the people of Lebanon. The Arabic/Lebanese culture was embedded in everything we did in our home growing up, always surrounded by family, welcoming friends warmly into our home, always with delicious food and drink to share…It is a beautiful way to grow up.

Because the sharing of meals has been such an important part of our lives, we wanted the Lebanese people to receive food to nourish them, and to know of the impact their stories and lives have made on our family. One of the absolute essentials to all of us as human beings is food. It is the basis of nourishment to both our bodies and minds.”

Michele and her family decided that funding our crucial, ongoing humanitarian relief efforts in the country would be a beautiful way to remember and pay tribute to her father’s legacy.

Photo: WFP/Edward Johnson

Hamida sells her veggies at a WFP-supported farmers market in Lebanon, the kind Michele’s generous initiative helped us rebuild.

Kathleen’s Extraordinary Kindness

Kathleen from Arizona had lived her entire life in poverty – in a home without the basics, like running water.

So when she received a sizable inheritance from her father last year, Kathleen thought little of her own circumstances. After getting her home set up with running water she donated the rest of the money, saying she’d always wanted to give to charity but could never afford to. Kathleen’s generosity is stunning: she gave $5,000 of her inheritance to us so we could continue our lifesaving work.

Two women in headwraps face the camera.

Kathleen’s $5,000 gift was enough to send 10,000 meals to people like Amina and her mother Salma, pictured above, who now live in a makeshift camp after fleeing violence in Yemen. Many of the people we serve, like refugees and displaced communities, also lack the essentials – including regular access to food.

Sela Saves the World
This little one loves horses and has one of the biggest hearts we’ve encountered. Here’s her letter – typos and all.

“Dear WFP,

On March 27 I turned 10. Insted of presents I wanted money for you to help people get food. I had $125 but I got $30 to $40 over my birthday. I started to want to help you when I watched 60 Minutes, I felt bad seeing the kids so skiny. I herd that one bag of grain was $125 so I helped. I have always wanted to go to Africa, so I want the people to be safe and well fed. I love horses just to let you know. I hope I help you save the world. Thank you!

From, Sela (See-La)
P.S: I just want to help.”

With Sela’s bag of wheat, we were able to feed dozens of hungry families. We and they couldn’t be more grateful.

A handwritten note from a child

Jill’s Joyful Generosity

Jill wrote to us on a notecard, explaining how her parents – and one big adventure – inspired her to give.

“My mother many times told me, ‘Jill, never forget where you come from.’ My mother lived in poverty in her early years, and my father knew hunger throughout his childhood and youth. In 1974 as a young adult of 28, I took a world tour for 77 days and saw such beauty, poverty and hunger. I donate to the United Nations World Food Programme because there remains always a shortfall between what can be provided and what is actually necessary. I donate to help reduce this gap on behalf of my mother and father who in heavenly places send me their thanksgivings to my heart.”

Georgia Keeps the World Smiling

This 5th grader wrote to us to let us know about her desire to help Rohingya refugees – most of whom live in one of the biggest refugee camps in the world in Bangladesh.

“Hello sir or madam,

My name is Georgia, and I am a 10-year-old 5th grader living in Maryland. I wanted to donate to a charity to make a beneficial impact on the world, and after a ton of research, I chose the WFP program that supports Rohingya refugees. Thank you so much for doing this work. It is amazing non-profit charities like you that keep the world smiling. Please accept this check (in my mom’s name, since I don’t have a checking account) for $100. Continue brightening the days of people who need it and spreading love throughout the world. Thank you so much.

Sincerely, Georgia.”

A mother holds her baby, looking at the camera, with her two young children standing next to her.
Photo: WFP/Nihab Rahman

Georgia’s check helped us feed families like Montaz Begum and her children, who live in the largest refugee camp in the world.

Sharing a Meal for South Sudan 

Over a dinner of burgers, potato salad and Rice Krispie treats for dessert, friends in Fort Wayne pooled their money to support our efforts in South Sudan.

“There are 4 couples that get together monthly for dinner. We all saw the program on 60 Minutes on the South Sudan hunger problem. We came up with the idea to have a simple meal and donate what we would have spent to help feed the people of South Sudan. We hope this small amount can help. I know it’s not a lot of money but it does show that people do care. Please keep up your awesome work.

Regards, Friends in Fort Wayne.”

It costs just 50 cents to provide a meal to someone in need. With this group’s combined $340, we were able to deliver 680 meals to desperately hungry people.

Photo: WFP/Gabriela Vivacqua

The Fort Wayne friends helped us feed school kids like these across South Sudan.

Mehrab Makes Our Day

“I am really thankful to you for all you do and your dedication towards world hunger,” he wrote. “There are no words to describe the service you provide to this world.”


As these heroes make clear, even the smallest of donations can make the biggest difference. Feeding hungry people around the world is a cause that anyone, of any age, from anywhere can rally around. From all of us here and the millions of people who rely on us, thank you for your letters and gifts.

If you feel inspired to join these U.N. World Food Programme donors in saving lives, click here.