Bowling With Purpose

When people all over the world hold fundraisers and raise awareness for WFP, it can make a big difference in the fight against hunger. Three high school sophomores in Massachusetts, US, recognized this and got to work to do their part.

For Shrutika Ruhela, 16, Fareya Ikram, 15, and Amanda Westort, 15, WFP’s work to end hunger is a powerful motivator. The group decided to make an impact by holding a fundraiser at their local AMF bowling alley, knowing it would be hard work.

Their event was a success. In total, they contributed nearly US$2,200 to WFP. “I know that the money will go to help so many people and even save lives,” said Westort. “I learned that even though I’m one person, my actions make a difference.”

In preparation for the event, the girls contacted local businesses to ask them to sponsor bowling lanes and contribute to the funds raised. Though turned down by several businesses, they were persistent in attracting sponsors, and they found many were very supportive. “People were willing to help us because they thought it was great that these girls were doing this,” said Ikram. In addition to other businesses that took part, an anonymous donor matched all of the proceeds raised.

The group hosted the family-friendly fundraiser in February. Each attendee was charged US$25 to bowl, and about 60 people attended. After the girls paid the bowling alley’s fees, the remaining proceeds went towards WFP. The event raised more than US$1,000, before the matching donation.

Ruhela said they were motivated by a line they’d seen in a WFP campaign—Hunger is the greatest solvable problem. “If we all do our little bit to help out, it can make such a big difference,” she said. The group also felt that WFP’s lifesaving work helped to attract sponsors and attendees.

The group marketed their event primarily through word-of-mouth and social media. Though some were skeptical at first, people were more willing to attend when the group explained more about WFP’s work.

Westort said that they explained that 85 percent of WFP’s donations go directly to field operations, emphasizing how far each attendee’s $25 would go in helping people around the world. “I think that really motivated them to come and got them interested,” she said.

A backboard with information and statistics about WFP’s work.For attendees, including people at the bowling alley they attracted at the last minute, the girls assembled backboards with information and statistics about WFP’s work.

Though putting the event together was a challenge, the group said it was rewarding because they made an impact for a cause they believe in. “I think that this was particularly rewarding because this was something outside of school on our own, and we knew why we were doing it,” said Ikram.

Though successful, the group said they learned lessons that could help in the future, like the importance in planning ahead and clearly communicating messages. They also learned the importance of taking the first step.

“You really have to just jump in and say ‘I’m doing this,’” said Ruhela. “Call the places you need to, and get it done because it’s not going to happen for you.”

Though they have no immediate plans, the group knows they want to plan another event to support WFP. For now, they’re focused on keeping WFP’s work in conversations.

“Inspiring people and spreading the word is something we’re still doing now,” said Westort.

Interested in putting together a similar event? Check out WFP’s University Pack for ideas.

(Photos courtesy Shrutika Ruhela, Fareya Ikram and Amanda Westort)