Cans for Camels Raises Money

Hunger kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined, according to World Food Programme statistics.
A group of students involved in Z-club are working with a company called Heifer International to provide a live camel to a family in need to help them fight through hunger.

Headed by chair member and junior Dominique Randle and Z-club advisor Allison Bassett, the group of approximately 35 have created red boxes to be dispersed around the school. The group is asking students and staff members to donate bottles and cans to their cause, and they plan to later ask community members to donate cans to be used to raise money as well.

Heifer International set out in 1944 to work with communities around the world to fight hunger and poverty by raising money to purchase and donate an assortment of livestock to families in need. One of many choices, the camel can be used to sustain a family with milk and provide a new source of income by selling the camel’s wool.

“In desert countries, camels are used for transportation. You can use their milk and their hair also,” Bassett said.

The camel is among the most expensive items to be purchased from Heifer, listed at $800, but the group set their goals high in order to fundraise as much as possible in the coming year.

“The group voted on what they wanted to achieve this year,” Bassett said. “We’re shooting quite high with the camel, but we can always use the money we make to do something else if we don’t make enough for the camel.”

The company has raised over $800,000 this year alone. According to World Food Programme, it is estimated that $3.2 billion is needed each year in order to reach all 66 million school-aged children that go to school hungry across the developing world.

“For me, it’s just really, really hard to hear about it, let alone see it,” Randle said. “Most of us here are doing okay. We are lucky to be able to go to school and have things like free breakfast.”

According to Randle, the group has started collecting cans from the cafeteria and will soon be turning them in for money. The group will be regularly checking the boxes around the school as well.

Heifer International does not allow the fundraising groups to hand-pick the family they will be donating to, but Randle said she has a vision for who she hopes to be able to help.

“I imagine a family who has kids and might even have lost someone to hunger,” Randle said.

Bassett said once the camel has been purchased and the family’s gift arrives, they will most likely receive a card so the group can learn a little bit about the family and the difference they made.

Randle said she believes in the power of sharing, and that one camel can make a big difference. The family who receives the gift and sells the milk and fur for a profit is also providing milk and fur to a neighbor. Randle said she also envisions the family loaning the camel to other families in their community to be used for transportation of heavy items where roads may not be readily available, such as logs.

“It will make me feel like I’ve accomplished something,” Randle said. “For me, it’s not just helping one family, it’s helping a whole community.”