Beat Hunger – An Awareness Campaign, by Rachel Zelon
Let me begin by saying that I am truly honored to have been asked to write this blog by Dame Evelyn Glennie, a very special person and a world-renowned talent. Evelyn continually shows her strong commitment to supporting good causes and it has been a true pleasure to work alongside her on Hunger Relief International’s Beat Hunger Campaign!
The Beat Hunger campaign was created to bring awareness to the ongoing need for nutritious food and support for millions of Haitians living in extreme poverty. There is life-threatening hunger in many parts of the world today, however, Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the 15 poorest countries in the world, is a close neighbor to one of the biggest food producers globally – the U.S. So, how is this even possible? And what about the growing hunger around the globe? Have we, as citizens of the world, become so inured to the pain and suffering of others that we choose to forget about children dying of hunger daily? I don’t believe so, but sometimes we need to remind people that hunger is real. Together, we can do better and we will do better.
Of course, we cannot simply feed the world, but we certainly can work with farmers to increase crop yields through the utilization of improved farming techniques, better seeds and equipment; we can equip adults with the skills they need to care for their families; we can make education and jobs a reality for thousands of children and young adults. These are just a few examples of actions that create self-sufficiency and can change generations. HRI is already working on these solutions in Haiti. We have families today that are self-sustaining due to training programs and small business loans, children in school as a result of programs that open enrollment and empower parents. We must keep our efforts moving forward though – there’s no stopping!
Hunger is the result of extreme poverty, climate change, conflict, disaster and the lack of access to basic services like clean water, decent sanitation, and even shoes! I truly believe we can beat hunger, so we decided to create a ‘wake-up call’ to the world.
In an effort to speak to the widest audience, we approached well-known, highly influential artists from a variety of genres. Stewart Copeland, the Grammy-winning drummer of The Police, and Sheila E., known for her work with Prince, are all-time greats, listed in the Top 100 drummers of all time in Rolling Stone. We were also able to work with newer artists like Rico Nichols, the talented, young drummer for Pulitzer and Grammy-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar. And, of course, we are so delighted that Evelyn was willing to be one of our all-stars leading the effort! The roster of talented artists also includes Kenny Aronoff, Stephen Perkins, Mix Master Mike, and Kristen Gleeson-Prata.
Each of the artists has worked closely with us, and utilized their personal media platforms, to support the cause. The hashtag “#BeatHunger” organically generated more than 4.5 million impressions across social media in just a few weeks. The videos have generated hundreds of thousands of views around the world. In the words of Stewart Copeland, “…we’re banging up a noise to get society to focus on what can be done to beat hunger on this earth.” We are so grateful to these artists for donating their time and talent to HRI in the effort to raise awareness about hunger.