WFP Spokesperson Bettina Luescher (left) poses with the $100,000 check together with Buried Life star Ben Nemtin (centre) and student Andrea Lacayo (right). Copyright:WFP/New York
What happens when a college student, an MTV reality show, the private sector and the largest humanitarian organisation in the world join forces? The answer is great TV and a big step in the fight against child hunger.
NEW YORK—In early November, WFP’s New York office turned into an impromptu set of the MTV reality show, The Buried Life when the crew "ambushed" WFP's spokeswoman Bettina Luescher with a $100,000 dollar check to feed hungry schoolchildren in Nicaragua.
The primetime show documents the adventures of four young twenty-somethings as they try to complete their list of “100 things to do before you die”. Each episode chronicles their adventures. For every item they try to complete on their list, they help a stranger achieve one of their dreams and encourage others to go after their own lists. Their biggest challenge yet was to make $1 million dollars.
Why Pizza Hut?
Pizza Hut, part of Yum! Brands, Inc., has supported WFP school meals projects around the globe since 2007 with its annual World Hunger Relief campaigns. Senior leaders from the company visited a school in Nicaragua and decided to dedicate a portion of their fundraising efforts in the USA to Nicaragua this year. The MTV adventure is just one of the many ways Pizza Hut and other Yum! Brands restaurants are supporting WFP.
Taking the challenge
Long-time WFP supporter Pizza Hut provided the seed money to allow the four cast members—Ben Nemtin, Dave Lingwood and the brothers Duncan and Jonnie Penn—to look for opportunities to turn their seed money into a larger investment.
Their ideas ranged from fashion design to enlisting the advice of a famous Wall Street expert. The special one-hour season finale documents the highs and lows of their quest – and a surprising decision to donate what money they did make to WFP.
At the end of their adventure, the cast used the money to help a young woman from Nicaragua realize her dream. College student Andrea Lacayo contacted the boys asking them to help children in her home-country of Nicaragua.
Since Pizza Hut had already been a long-time supporter of WFP’s school feeding projects, the cast decided to donate the money to WFP to help schoolchildren in Nicaragua.
In the Big Apple
The final destination on their journey was WFP’s tiny office in New York where the group’s ring leader, Nemtin, and his fan joined a camera crew to surprise Luescher with the donation.
“I was just floored - what a great idea! And to meet Ben in person and to receive the US$ 100,000 check - we haven't had that much fun fundraising in ages", said Bettina Luescher and laughed. "So a big thank you and gracias to Ben, Duncan, Jonnie and Dave! And also to Pizza Hut and MTV! They will change the lives of some 2,000 Nicaraguan school kids forever" she added.
The cast from The Buried Life is now calling on MTV viewers to help with their own donation to WFP’s projects in Nicaragua with a specially-recorded TV spot.