An Internet charity auction of fine-dining items, ranging from dinner for two at top international restaurants to rare cookery books to regional baskets of unusual ingredients, has raised more than double its target in a ‘Menu for Hope’ project to help the United Nations feed hungry children in the developing world.
The popular blog for international ‘foodies’ (http://chezpim.typepad.com), founded by Thai-born Pim Techamuanvivit, ran the two-week online auction in the lead-up to the holiday season with the goal of raising $25,000 for UN World Food Programme (WFP).
By the time the auction ended just before Christmas, Ms. Pim had raised $58,000, providing an early seasonal gift for hungry children living in places like Darfur, Niger or Bangladesh.
“This is a great achievement from an individual who has decided to use the popularity of her food blog to serve a good cause – global hunger,” WFP Director of Communications Neil Gallagher said. “It also demonstrates the unrecognized power of the on-line community to contribute to a unique effort like this, showing solidarity with hungry children in poorer countries.”
The ‘Menu for Hope’ auction used a simple formula, charging $10 for tickets to bid for an eclectic array of gastronomic items contributed by friends, supporters and avid readers of the blog.
Ms. Pim was inspired two years ago to help those less fortunate after the Indian Ocean tsunami hit Thailand, where she was born and raised. She mobilized $2,000 then in her first such auction.
“I couldn't have done this without the support and participation of the on-line community,” she said of the latest total. “Over 150 food bloggers around the world put up prizes. They, and others publicized the campaign on their own blogs to attract interest, and that's how it drew so many donors, despite lacking mainstream media attention.”
During the auction fortnight, she maintained interest by various means, including her own testing of WFP food ration ingredients like Corn Soya Blend, which nourish starving people, in traditional recipes. She also posted WFP video material featuring famous chefs helping to highlight the scourge of hunger.