6 inspiring ways you're making an impact

January 28, 2015

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  • United Noshes, which hosts country-themed dinner parties in support of Mercy Corps, is just one of the amazing ways that our supporters give. Photo courtesy of Laura Hadden

The work that we do would not be possible without the help of our supporters. Because of you, we are able to reach mothers, children, families and communities with the resources they need to improve their lives.

Every donation we receive makes a difference for someone in need. There are many ways to give, and your stories about why you give are nothing short of inspiring.

Here are just a few creative ways our wonderful supporters have chosen to become part of the Mercy Corps family. From dinner parties to collecting small change, these people have found joyful ways to give to our global community.

Helping the world one meal at a time

Jesse Friedman and Laura Hadden began an ambitious project, called United Noshes, three years ago — host a dinner party with a meal from each U.N. member country, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.

At the dinners, Jesse learns new cooking techniques and the couple’s guests experience an evening of culinary exploration. Instead of paying for the meal, Friedman and Hadden ask that their friends instead make a donation to Mercy Corps.

The couple recently cooked a meal from Lebanon, putting them nearly halfway to their goal. They estimate that it will take four more years of cooking and fundraising to finish the alphabetical culinary adventure.

Making an impact year-round

In 2003, Brian and Cyndy Unwin heard about Mercy Corps at a concert. After that, the couple became part of our monthly giving program, supporting people in need all year-round. “It just felt right to give,” said Cyndy, who works as an elementary school reading specialist.

Over the past decade, this partnership has helped the Unwins deepen their understanding of global issues. “We’ve realized how important the organization’s work is in addressing the root causes of poverty,” said Brian, an Army physician.

As part of our Partners in Mercy monthly giving program, the Unwins experience a meaningful connection to our work. “We believe that organizations like Mercy Corps can help soften people’s hearts,” said Brian. “Mercy Corps has helped soften our hearts to do more.”

Baking for a cause

When the Iraq war began in 2003, a group of four friends got together and agreed that they needed to do something to contribute to peace in the Middle East. The founding women of Pies for Peace — Lark Brandt, Carol Woodford, Patricia Keeney and Kim Monteleone — had baking experience, so they decided to put it to use for a good cause.

For 12 years they’ve cooked up delicious pies to sell at a local farmer’s market, donating the proceeds to Mercy Corps. The pies are made with locally-grown fruits and include apple, blueberry, pumpkin, strawberry rhubarb and the fan-favorite cherry n’ berry flavor. In total, they’ve raised approximately $40,000 for Mercy Corps’ work in the Middle East.

Staff members at our headquarters in Portland, Oregon have been able to purchase the tasty treats, too. "We always love coming to Mercy Corps and seeing the faces of the people who are dealing with crisis and pain every day,” said Brandt. “Thanks to all of you for making it possible to feel that our efforts are helping real people."

Donating on their big day

When Rebecca and her husband got married in September, 2001, they decided to forgo traditional wedding gifts. With family traveling across the country to attend their big day, they both agreed that giving to an organization would mean more to them than gifts.

In order to support a local organization that also reached people internationally, Rebecca and her husband asked guests of their wedding to make a donation to Mercy Corps in lieu of a gift. After their nuptials, the couple became Partners in Mercy and have been dedicated supporters ever since.

With young children and busy lives, Rebecca appreciates that their monthly giving keeps the family connected to global issues. “When I read about something that’s going on in the world and there’s a dire need, I don’t even feel like I have to check anymore,” said Rebecca. “I just know that Mercy Corps is probably there, and when I do check, they are!”

Gathering small change to help others

A local Portland non-sectarian ministry is making a difference one quarter at a time. Operation Nightwatch has offered a non-denominational worship service to the local street population since 1981.

At the weekly service, the ministry accepts an offering that is then donated to Mercy Corps. The homeless individuals who attend the service often give small amounts of change, but every penny adds up. The group, who wanted to give to those less fortunate, has raised over $4,000 for Mercy Corps since 2010.

The Executive Director of the ministry told us that giving, even in small amounts, is truly meaningful and empowering for the community’s members.

Inspiring giving at school

You’re never too young to start giving! Dakota Fowler’s 8th grade class learned the joy of giving through a project called Plates for Purpose. After creating artistic, decorative plates, each student was instructed to choose an organization that meant something to them.

The plates were all set up in Dakota’s school cafeteria, where parents, teachers and visitors could bid on them over the period of a few weeks. The highest bidder took the plate home, and the money was donated to the organization of each student’s choice.

Young Dakota chose Mercy Corps as the organization that meant something to her, and we couldn’t be happier. “The work Mercy Corps does is very important and I feel good that I can help,” said Dakota. “You never know, I may come and work for you one day.”

How you can help

  • Donate today. Every single contribution helps us reach people in some of the world's most challenging places with lifesaving resources.
  • Become a Partner in Mercy. Sign up once, and help people in need every day of the year. With a monthly gift, you'll help us save and improve lives year-round.
  • Start a campaign. You can turn knowledge into action by setting up a personal fundraising page and asking your friends and family to contribute to our efforts around the world.
  • Stay informed. Read more stories about our programs and the inspiring people we work to help every day.