Elise Vestal: How did you first hear about WFP? With all of the issues out there to support, why did you decide to support the fight against global hunger?
Ron Mayer: I had done suburban dad volunteering for many years – youth sports, school and church – and Rotary International. After my two daughters were grown and independent, I took a few years off from my own volunteering and played a minor support role in my wife’s animal rescue work. I wanted to take on something new – something that had an impact beyond my own community – I didn’t have to think about it very long to know that global hunger was the area that I wanted to explore. I googled “global hunger” and found FWFP. I contacted FWFP in late 2008. Margot Hoerrner scheduled an outreach recruitment trip to Indiana in early 2009. I was moved by her presentation, and knew that I wanted to help WFP. At first I thought that I might like to create a hunger poetry website. I submitted a poem and a report on meeting Senator Lugar to the FWFP blog. I continued to read blogs and articles on hunger and soon reached the realization that I wanted to do more. It wasn’t a thought – it was a feeling. I tried to capture that feeling in an email that I wrote and began sending to the media, organizations and individuals. Below is a paraphrased excerpt:
“I believe that God has a hand in determining the roads that we walk down and in the profound moments that we encounter along the way. I have been down several roads and often wondered when my moments would come.
Then I started down the road to fighting global hunger. You don't have to walk very far to learn that the road is lined with children who are suffering.
Walking down that road…taking on that fight…helping those children…are my moments.”
EV: Which WFP Committee are you involved with?
RM: WFP Committee of Evansville
EV: What was the main gist of the event (paint a picture of the event)
RM: From our launch event poster/announcement – The WFP Committee of Evansville, a newly-formed outreach committee of the Friends of the World Food Program (FWFP, www.friendsofwfp.org ), is pleased to announce its launch event. FWFP is a U.S.-based, nonprofit, non-partisan organization that focuses on building support in the U.S. for the UN's World Food Programme (WFP, www.wfp.org ). WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organization and the UN's lead agency in addressing world hunger needs. The WFP Committee of Evansville will host community activities in the areas of advocacy, awareness, and fundraising. The launch event will be held at the Oaklyn Branch of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library on Wednesday, April 14, at 6:30p.m. The program will feature brief presentations about global hunger and the work of the World Food Programme (WFP). The WFP Committee of Evansville is currently looking for additional leaders and volunteers. Committee Leaders Ron Mayer and Jim Schmidt will be available to discuss leader and volunteer roles in the efforts to end global hunger.
I utilized a modified FWFP PowerPoint presentation for the event.
EV: Who attended?
RM: We had a great group of volunteers attend last night – besides Jim Schmidt, myself, our wives, and two other family members, we had an additional 5 volunteers. Our 5 non-family volunteers include a retired law professor, 3 high school students and a new college grad with grass roots hands-on volunteer experience. We have some real ringers in the group – a few people with a great deal of community service experience. You’ll learn more about them as we go to work in the weeks ahead.
EV: When was it?
RM: Wednesday, April 14, at 6:30p.m.
EV: Where was it?
RM: Oaklyn Branch of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library, Evansville, Ind.
EV: What was the goal/outcome? (fundraising, awareness, media outreach, advocacy)
RM: Awareness and volunteer recruitment
EV: Did you meet your goals?
RM: We met our goal – we launched. Now we can get started making a difference.
EV: How did you come up with this idea?
RM: The Friends of WFP Outreach Team
EV: What advice would you give to someone who wants to organize a similar event?
RM: Just do it. The event -- number of attendees, presentation, resulting volunteers, amount of money you raise – none of that has to be perfect. Each time you schedule a venue, make a phone call, write an email or a letter, post an announcement in the media or on a bulletin board, you are making a difference in hunger awareness.
EV: Why did you think it was important to organize an event like this to benefit the World Food Program?
RM: Any one person can make a difference. We have to find and make aware as many people as we can.