Barb Snelgrove and Numbers manager Tom Kosaka are putting into practice anthropologist Margaret Mead’s famous quote: “Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Snelgrove and Kosaka are organizing Davie Village businesses to work together on Sept 10 to help Somalia.
Every effort counts, every penny raised helps, Snelgrove says.
Through donation jars, entertainment, food sales and raffles, the It Takes a Village campaign will raise money for Somalia in conjunction with OXFAM Canada and the Canadian government’s East Africa Drought Relief Fund.
“The businesses we contacted have really come on board in a great way, very enthusiastic right from the beginning. ‘What can we do to help?’ It’s a no-brainer, you know,” says Snelgrove. She is not surprised about the high level of participation considering the dire situation in East Africa.
Africa’s worst drought in 60 years has left tens of thousands of people to die from malnutrition. Thousands more are on the brink of starvation and in desperate need of food supplies.
“This kind of crisis is horrific. Ten thousand kids are dying each month. I mean, when has that ever happened that we are aware of it and can do something about it?” says Kosaka, who will try to attract donors to Numbers with live music, a drag show and live improvisation throughout the day.
Kosaka’s and Snelgrove’s initial plan to organize a street parade and close parts of Davie St to traffic fell through due to the time constraints of organizing the event on such short notice.
“[We] had to get this together quickly to come in by the Sept 16 deadline,” says Snelgrove, referring to the official deadline for the government to match every dollar donated by Canadians.
Besides raising funds for crisis relief, Kosaka believes that campaigns like It Takes a Village are just as important for community building. “I think it brings us together for a good cause. This is the beginning of mobilizing in a situation like that again.”
Turning this year’s campaign into an annual event and expanding it citywide is something Snelgrove says she’d like to see in the future. “Now we have set this up and hopefully, come Sept 10, we know that this works. Who says we couldn’t be doing something like this for something locally that needs our help?”
“We are all members of the Village, but we are also members of a greater village,” she says, “and it is our responsibility, my responsibility, to step up and do what I can.”