Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pillow Cookie GIVEAWAY for Niger

I think that all readers of Eat Run Read can appreciate a good meal. You love cake. You love cookies. You rave about my pizzas. You know the value of a post-workout smoothie and the true fantasticness of a satisfying bowl-o-dinner after a long run.

So now let’s play a little game. Imagine that you return from a run, all kinds of hangry (hungry/angry) and in need of re-fueling…and there’s no food in your fridge or cupboards. You go to your roommate (or neighbor)…no food. You go to the store…no food. And despite your initial disbelief, it slowly dawns on you that you are going to be hungry for a very long time. (Sorry to turn this post into a major Debbie-downer, but not everything is rainbows and sunshine and chocolate cream pie!)

In Niger, that is a very real problem right now. Due to too much rain in an already unstable food environment, crops failed and about 12 million people – about 80% of the population – are facing food insecurity (meaning that they have 10 or fewer days' food supplies remaining with all other income-generating activities exhausted).

If you read regularly, you know that I lived (and ran!) in Niger for 4 months. So to me, this food crisis is real and personal. Nigeriens are so friendly and generous – they think nothing of sharing the little they have with any guest or friend. This donation effort was started by other students who did my same program – we all had life-changing experiences in Niger and now we want to give back. (All the pictures in this post are from my time in Niger.)

I realize that this is a hand-out. I’m more of a teach-a-man-to-fish type of aid advocate myself, but at this crisis point, an I told you so is pretty useless.

So I promise NEVER to ask you for money again. (For many reasons, one of which is that I kinda hate when people ask me for money...but sorry, this is too important of a cause to ignore!) And I’m not asking you to give much. Just $10 will feed a family for a week! Anything you can give will help. I provide you with blog-reading picture-drooling amusement 5 days a week absolutely free! So maybe think of this donation as a Thank-you-Mollie-for-not-polluting-our-blog-experience-with-those-annoying-banners-and-pop-up-ads sort of thing.

Donations to Niger Food Relief will go to The Nomad Foundation which was chosen based on their track record of dedicated assistance to Nigeriens during the last food crisis, and their sustainable development projects. This organization is effective and has minimal overhead, so your money will get to the people who need it. 

For just the cost of one cake’s ingredients you could give a family a couple weeks’ food - enough to get them to the next harvest.

AND if you need even more motivation to give…I am offering MY VERY FIRST GIVEAWAY!!! That’s right – one lucky winner will get a BOX of Mocha Pillow Cookies overnighted to them! (I wish I could send a cake…but I don’t think it would hold up in the mail.)

How to enter:

1. Donate through the Niger Food Relief website. (No amount is too small!)

2. 1 entry: Leave a comment on this post telling me that you donated.

3. 1 entry: Leave a comment if you tweet this giveaway (and make sure you tag me @eatrunread in the tweet).

4. 1 entry: Leave a comment if you mention my giveaway on your blog. 

5. So you can have up to 3 chances to win! On August 25th I will put all your names in a hat and draw a winner and a box of delicious brownie-filled cookies will be all yours!

Some pictures from Niger:

Me with the other "apprenti" I worked with at the Musée Nationale learning how to make silver jewelry:

The children of my host-family in their compound:
The neighborhood (Kouara Tegue) water pump:

Hajia, the oldest woman in Kouara Tegue. She once told me, "Life is long and hard and difficult. I raised my children, and my grand children, and now I am old and still taking care of my family." But look how happy she is!

Thanks for donating - tell all your friends about the giveaway!