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Wishing on a Star: A Benefit Concert

After the earthquake in Haiti, our office received thousands of phone calls from people all across the country who wanted to support the relief efforts in Port-au-Prince. One call resulted in a benefit concert where students in Southern California used their talents to raise money for the United Nations World Food Program (WFP).

Wishing on a Star- Mariam and MairaOne parent called to say that her daughter and friends wanted to do something about it –  they wanted to use their talents to support children who might not have anything to eat that day. As students, they were concerned with child nutrition, and now they were seeing devastating images from Haiti

With the help of their parents and friends, the students planned an evening of music.Their event, “Wishing on a Star: A Benefit Concert” raised nearly $2,000 in one night Below are excerpts from an interview with Mariam Soni and Maira Karan, two students who led most of the planning and performed.

Jessica Alatorre: How did you first hear about WFP?

Mariam Soni: My mom and I were watching disturbing images of starving children and we started researching charity organizations. We found WFP as a secular, unbiased and reliable charitable organization so we decided to support it.

Maira Karan: I first heard about WFP in my 8th grade science class when I was reading an article about world hunger.

Jessica: With all of the issues out there to support, why did you decide to support the fight against global hunger? Why did you, as students, decide to organize this benefit concert?

Mariam: I believe that hunger is the major fundamental cause of other problems that we have in this world. I feel that when a person is hungry or starving, their ability to perform everyday tasks is reduced. One cannot perform other duties when the basic necessity of food is not fulfilled. This can cause frustration, violence and other issues that we are currently facing in the world.  As they say, “A hungry friend can be worse than a well fed enemy”.

Maira: I live in such an affluent country and since birth I have never been deprived of any of my needs. I do not want any child to go hungry in this world. I realize that it’s a monumental task, but my dream after doing this concert is to motivate other students to support this cause.

Jessica: Tell me about your event.

Maira: The concert began around 7:00 pm and family and friends gathered in the huge living room. The host came out and she talked about world hunger. A PowerPoint presentation followed, which educated our audience about malnutrition. Then the performances began with Mariam behind the piano with a few of her solos, then me singing my share of songs. After the entertainment was over, we ended the night with a distribution of certificates [for all those who participated]. All in all, the night went very smoothly and everybody enjoyed themselves.

Mariam: My goal was to spread awareness at my community level that even children can help contribute by using their talents, and any help is better than no help. I wanted to spread the word about global hunger, which is often given less attention, because people are so focused on global warming and terrorism. I believe that other issues are the consequences of this major issue. Children are the future of this planet, and if we do not take care of them now, they will grow up to be unhappy adults –  if they survive their childhood. I hope I can take this to the next level and continue to strive to help eliminate childhood hunger.

Jessica: What advice would you give to someone who wants to organize a similar event?

Mariam:   I would say go for it. Spread the word. Work hard, make your event sound and look professional so that everybody leaves with an impression that these kids are not too young to do something amazing.

Jessica: Why did you think it was important to organize an event like this to benefit WFP?

Maira: I think it is our duty as human beings to help another human being when they are in need. I understand that it is hard to stop world hunger all at once but if each of us contributes to this global problem, then we can make a huge difference. 

Mariam: In the end, we as humans are all connected in a big picture. What happens in the world affects everyone, and we all have the responsibility to share and make a difference, even at a very small level. 

Jessica: Is there anything you would like to add?

Maira: I feel that if each of us contributes just a little bit of our time or money, we can turn things around. Also if we could watch how much food we are taking and try to not waste it. Every time I think of even wasting a bite of food, I remember that I could save a life with this bite that I am about to throw away. And even if it is only $1, please donate to this cause because every action causes a chain reaction. With $1, we could save a family from dying of hunger. And I would also like to say a big thank you to those of you who have donated.

-Jessica Alatorre
Outreach Associate
Friends of WFP


Media Contact

Erin Cochran
Vice President of Communications

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