Grilled cheese impacts global hunger

FeelGood is a small non-profit deli with a big mission. 

The student-run organization with the slogan, “Ending world hunger one grilled cheese at a time,” just completed their second campaign on the international crowdfunding site Indiegogo titled “A Week in Their Shoes.”  

“We did the first round of this event last April and it ended up being really successful,” junior Rose Leshner said, FeelGood’s fundraising chair this year. “We decided to invest all our fundraising energy into the event for this semester.” 

In this campaign, self-proclaimed “FeelGooders” raised $3,558 for the Hunger Project.

The Hunger Project is an international youth movement that works toward the sustainable end of world hunger by empowering and educating people.

100 percent of the proceeds raised through FeelGood’s grilled cheese creations go to the Hunger Project for the global effort to end chronic hunger. 

UVM’s chapter is one of many across the globe that collectively has donated over $200,000 to the project. 

The Hunger Project operates in 11 countries in Africa, South Asia and Latin America to develop strategies to end hunger and poverty. 

The goal of the “A Week in Their Shoes” event was to educate students about the issues prevalent in the countries that the project helps. 

FeelGood dedicated each day of the week to a different country.

“We felt a bit of disconnect between what we were doing here at UVM and the real hardships these people are dealing with that we really know nothing about,” Leshner said. “We thought it would be meaningful to try to spend a day in their shoes and try to forego the modern conveniences we are so lucky to have.” 

The first day was dedicated to Uganda, which kicked off the event Nov. 11. 

Research presented on the event’s Indiegogo fundraising site noted that the majority of the population in Uganda lives on roughly $1 a day. 

FeelGooders spent the day setting aside their normal spending patterns. 

Tuesday was dedicated to Mozambique, a country where 56 percent of the population is illiterate, according to the fundraising site. 

In this country there is no technology, so Feelgooders spent this day without using cellphones, iPods and other technological conveniences. 

FeelGood advocates had “a day of silence” on Wednesday to represent India. 

The fundraising website explained that this was done to portray the need for strong female voices due to the prominent gender inequalities that exist in the country. 

Members wore T-shirts on this day that detailed the gender inequality in India, to explain the reasoning for their silence. 

Thursday was dedicated to Malawi, a country that has one of the highest rates of HIV and AIDS in the world. On this day the club offered free HIV testing, gave out informational packets and donated blood. 

On Sunday, the last day of the campaign, Feelgooders hosted a potluck dinner to celebrate the customs present in each country. 

The dinner consisted of traditional dishes from each country and a discussion of the different country’s customs and values. 

The goal of the dinner was to explore how these values are degraded due to poverty and injustice. 

“It’s hard to make people do something that is uncomfortable such as not using their phone for the day or trying to live on a dollar for an entire day,” Leshner said. “Suffering allows you to appreciate the small and often overlooked beauty of life”