Students Step Up To Fight Hunger In Haiti

Published on 26 March 2010

Olivia Stanwick, 9, after presenting her check to WFP's Doug Coutts.

Olivia Stanwick, 9, recently handed WFP a check for $1,654 – money that she and her school friends collected to help the hungry in Haiti. Her contribution is enough to provide 6,000 meals for children in school. Olivia is just one of many students who are helping to fight hunger.

ROME – Olivia, who goes to Wrights Mill Road Elementary School in Auburn, Alabama, saw the devastation caused by the Jan 12 earthquake in Haiti and decided she had to act.

She placed about 10 big water jugs around her school and asked fellow students and teachers to drop their spare change into them. Over the next four weeks the bottles filled up as kids parted with allowances, birthday money and tooth fairy money.

“If someone has been pushed down, I want to be the one to help them back up,” Olivia told her local newspaper, the Opelika-Auburn News, when interviewed about her initiative.

Fighting hunger

Fortunately Olivia is not the only student keen to help WFP fight hunger in Haiti and other parts of the world.The Tsukuba International School in Japan sold beans from the school garden to raise money and a collection at the American School of Yaounde in Cameroon pulled in $1,000 for Haiti.

The New School in Rome raised funds through a sponsored silence (every teacher's dream), a sponsored spelling test, a bake sale and other initiatives. With only 200 students, they were able to present WFP with a check for 6,000 euros (see photo by Giulio d'Adamo), or 30,000 school meals.

New School student John Beck, 14, was also recently awarded the grand prize for the Under-18 category of WFP’s “hunger bytes!” video contest. John’s video, “Dinner is Served,” is a call for action against hunger and challenges people to rethink the concept of a full meal.

"Huge difference"

"Students and young people from around the world have helped make a huge difference in the fight against hunger this year,” said Graham Bell, WFP’s youth outreach coordinator and the prime mover behind the "Students Helping Haiti" campaign.

“We have member schools from every continent, and have raised almost US$50,000 dollars so far - money which will provide much-needed food assistance to tens of thousands of people in Haiti.”

One of the key messages of WFP’s youth outreach effort is that donations don’t have to be big to count and that everyone can be part of the solution. This was the watchword at the London School of Economics last year when WFP supporters marked World Food Day by staging a week-long campus campaign to raise awareness and funds to fight hunger. Watch video