Monday 10 December 2007

Menu for Hope 07


I can hardly believe that a whole year has passed since we raised the whopping $62,925.12 to support the UN World Food Programme last December. Time really does fly.

Anyway, it's that time of year again for me to remind you that Menu for Hope is approaching, this would be our fourth annual campaign, and we do hope you join us.

You don't know what Menu for Hope is? What, you've been living in the mountains somewhere, cut off from the food blog world? Well, fret not, here's a list of frequently asked questions to answer your every query. Read it and join us! (If you're on Facebook, join us there too.)

What is Menu for Hope?
When will this year's campaign take place?
Who is the beneficiary of this year's campaign?
Who collects the money?
How can I help?
I'm a blogger
I'm a restaurateur, author or food/wine producer/seller
I'm a food blog reader or a food lover

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Menu for Hope?
Menu for Hope is an annual fundraising hosted by me, Pim Techamuanvivit, here on my food blog Chez Pim. Five years ago, the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia inspired me to find a way to help, and the very first Menu for Hope was born. The campaign has since become a yearly affair, raising funds to support worthy causes worldwide. In 2006, Menu for Hope raised US$62,925.12 to help the UN World Food Programme feed the hungry.

For two weeks every December, food bloggers from all over the world join the campaign by offering a delectable array of food-related prizes for the Menu for Hope raffle. Anyone – and that means you too - can buy raffle tickets to bid on these prizes. For every $10 donated, you earn one virtual raffle ticket to bid on a prize of their choice. At the end of the two-week campaign, the raffle tickets are drawn and the results announced on Chez Pim.

When will this year's campaign take place?
December 10-21.

Who is the beneficiary of this year's campaign?
Once again we've chosen to work with the UN World Food Programme. WFP is the world’s largest food aid agency, working with over 1,000 other organizations in over 75 countries. In addition to providing food, the World Food Program helps hungry people to become self-reliant so that they escape hunger for good.

With a special permission from the WFP, the funds raised by Menu for Hope 4 will be earmarked for the school lunch program in Lesotho, Africa. We chose to support the school lunch program because providing food for the children not only keeps them alive, but keeps them in school so that they learn the skills to feed themselves in the future. We chose to support the program in Lesotho because it is a model program in local procurement - buying food locally to support local farmers and the local economy. Instead of shipping surplus corn across the ocean, the WFP is buying directly from local subsistent farmers who practice conservation farming methods in Lesotho to feed the children there.

Who collects the money?
Certainly not me, nor is it the other bloggers participating on the campaign. We know our readers trust us, but we also want to be completely transparent in our fundraising. So, we use a very good online fundraising company called Firstgiving, who has worked with us since the first Menu for Hope years ago.

Donors can make an online donation with a credit card. Firstgiving collects and processes the payments and, at the end of the campaign, transfers the donations in one lump sum to the WFP. This is a win-win situation for all parties involved. The bloggers never touch the money. The WFP don't waste overheads on processing mini-donations, the majority of which were between $10-$50, that's a whole lot of tenners to make up 60K. Firstgiving does all the work and collects a small fee, which include the credit card processing charges.

Last year, Firstgiving gave back 1% of the total amount raised in lieu of a discount on their processing fee. Thank you Firstgiving, we appreciate it very much!

Here is this year's FirstGiving fundraising page for Menu for Hope 4:

How can you help?

If you are a blogger:
Participate in Menu for Hope 4 by hosting a raffle prize or by promoting Menu for Hope on your blog. The prize you offer need not be of high monetary value, but it should appeal to your readership. A small rule of thumb we'd like to suggest is that each prize offered should have the potential to raise at least $200. That means, don't offer a prize unless you are pretty sure you could get at least twenty of your readers to donate $10 for a raffle ticket toward that prize.

Please do not solicit prizes from restaurants or producers whom you do not know. A big part of our success in prior years came from the personal connections between bloggers, food producers/restaurateurs/authors, and the readers who donate to the campaign. Basically, if they know your name, it's ok. If you pick up the phone and introduce yourself and the person at the other end of the line goes "huh?", you shouldn't be asking them.

Each blogger is also responsible for shipping their prize to the winning donor. Make sure you have enough in your budget to cover shipping. It's important that you specify where your shipping area will cover when you offer the prize.

Bloggers who do not offer a prize can also participate by becoming a Menu for Hope supporter. Use our banner on your blog. Link to us. Post about us. If you have ads space on your blog, consider using one of them to display our ads, or consider using our Menu for Hope ads as a backup for your unsold inventory. (Logos, banners, and ads are up here, more will be added soon.)

Forward this post to all other bloggers you know so they can participate too.

Contact you corresponding regional host for more details.

Johanna of The Passionate Cook and Jeanne of Cooksister
Fanny of Food Beam
US: West Coast
Bee of Rasa Malaysia
US: Central
Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen
US: East Coast
Adam Kuban of Slice NY and Serious Eats
Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess
Asia Pacific, Australia, New Zealand
Helen of Grab Your Fork

and, last but not least, our special Wine Blog Host
Alder of Vinography

If you are a restaurateur, author or food producers/sellers:
Consider offering your products and services as raffle prizes. If you have a corportate blog, you can host the prize yourself. If you don’t, find a food blogger to host your prize. If you don't know any, contact me, I'll see what I can do.

If you are a food blog reader or a food lover:
Come back to Chez Pim on Monday December 10 when the campaign goes online. You can browse our amazing array of prizes by type, or find a prize near you by searching by region. Bid on as many prizes as you'd like. Buy raffle tickets as holiday gifts to your loved ones. Just come back and check us out on December 10. Help us help the WFP end world hunger.

Here's what you need to do...

  1. Go to the donation page at
  2. Make a donation: each US$10 will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. In the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form, please specify which prize or prizes you'd like, using the prize-code and detailing the number of tickets per prize you'd like to purchase. For example, a donation of US$50 can be 2 tickets for AP01 and 3 for AP02
  3. For US donors, if your company has agreed to match your charity donation, please remember to tick the box and fill in the information so we may claim the corporate match.
  4. Please make sure you tick the box to allow us to see your email address so we may contact you if you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.
  5. Winners will be announced on Chez Pim in mid-January 2008.