As the Covid-19 Continued to ravage the world everywhere, it was too much for the CEO of Kikuyu Diaspora Media, Jeremy Damaris to sit and do nothing while people in his homeland country of Kenya continued to suffer. Indeed Covid-19 had hit very hard in 3rd world countries like Kenya where people live from hand to mouth. The poorest of the poor people already lead a very difficult life even without covid-19 and the pandemic only adds insult to injury for such people. Doing nothing about the situation was not an option for the humanitarian Jeremy Damaris who has always helped the needy. Jeremy and his team came together and coined the phraise “Diaspora Skip Lunch Feed Kenya Covid-19 Initiative” with the aim of appealing to people to skip 1, 2, 3, 4 etc lunches in order to feed those going hungry due to Covid-19 in Kenya. This has now become a movement which is simply referenced with the slogan “Skip Lunch”
Appeal For Funds:
Jeremy Damaris had a clear vision to feed those going hungry in Kenya due to covid-19. Doing nothing was not an option. The next step was to figure out how to get the funds needed to buy food for the operation. Together with his team, Jeremy decided the best way to fund the mission was through gofundme. On June 15, he created a gofundme account with a target of $20,000. Jeremy and his team were skeptical about whether people would respond. In his usual style, he went to the airwaves through his extensive social media (he has over 100,000 followers in his youtube channel) and directly appealed to his followers and community at large to join hands in this noble cause. The video he made was shared extensively and there was a very overwhelming and positive response to his appeal. Skip-lunch became the main topic in social media and within 3 days, the fundraiser target of raising $20,000 was reached!
Getting the Job Done:
Having raised enough funds to start the mission within a short time since the vision was birthed, Jeremy and his team moved quickly to get the operation started. The team worked on budgeting, identifying food vendors, getting government clearance to distribute food and working out all the details needed for the operation to begin.
With all the ground work in place, the team visited the first community and fed 200 people on Tuesday May 5. The team worked tirelessly for the next few weeks that followed going from place to place and distributing food. With no major incidents, the mission was complete within a period of about 3 weeks. All in all, this will go down in history as one of the most successful and well organized operations and a major milestone for Jeremy Damaris and his organization. Most importantly it helped make life a little better for those 6,000 people or families in Kenya.
As with any project of this magnitude, a few challenges were encountered some of which are highlighted below:
The journey that started with a one man’s vision to feed the hungry followed by a gofundme on April 15th 2020, ended on May 25th 2020 as a huge success. The goal to feed about 6,000 people in 30 communities was accomplished. The chart below shows all the communities that were fed ordered from the first to the last. About Ksh 3,300,000,00 ($33,000) Kenya Shillings was raised for this effort and all of it was used with food and overhead costs. In his usual style, Jeremy did one last video thanking his followers and reporting on the successful operation. The video tells the story so be sure to watch the video appearing at the top of this post.
As with any operation of this magnitude, there were a few challenges to reckon with. The team anticipated most if not all of them and the necessary planning had been put in place. In any case the team learned that it’s possible to overcome anything when people work together and the work is well planned and coordinated. Here are some of the challenges:
- Operating within the parameters of Covid-19 Pandemic.
- Clearance was needed to cross roadblocks that were put in place to minimize travel and the spread of Covid-19.
- Social gatherings were restricted and the team had to follow the strict guidelines such as wearing masks and sometimes serving just a few people at a time.
- Coordinating with area chiefs and sometimes “nyumba kumi” elders. The local government had to give a green light before our team could distribute food in their communities.
- Some communities that were in the distribution list had to be dropped due to challenges getting clearance to from respective authorities.
- The realities of covid-19 added to our overhead costs in terms of transportation, obeying curfews such that the team had to spend more nights out and sanitizing supplies among others.
- Distributing food to areas far away from Nairobi: The team had the aim to serve as many communities as possible but unfortunately some of them were out of reach. In such cases the food was distributed without KDM team on the ground. These communities included Mombasa, Kisumu and Turkana
- Having to trust strangers: At one point the food sent to buy food was almost stolen by a store owner.
- Overhead cost related to remote distribution: These included transportation, security and videography.
- Food supplies: The team had to find vendors with enough food supplies to make it ready and available for distribution on almost a daily basis. In addition the food had to be packed into packages in a timely manner.
- Too many requests for help:
- As you can imagine, this was an operation that was done in public and relying on public funds. There were too many people who reached out for help but unfortunately it was not possible to feed everyone.
KDM thanks everyone that played a part in this operation. Consider becoming a a member of KDM’s highly successful and effective YouTube channel. Your support will go along way in helping KDM accomplish more missions like the Skip Lunch initiative.