Two months after its launch, the world's very first app aimed specifically at addressing world hunger, ShareTheMeal, successfully raised enough money to feed 20,000 Syrian children for a year. Now, building on that achievement, the United Nations' World Food Program (WFP) initiative has a new target. ShareTheMeal wants to feed Syria's pregnant women, nursing moms, and their children up to 6 months of age in the besieged city of Homs.
With a simple tap on the screen, smartphone users can donate as little as 50 cents — which is WFP's global average for providing vital daily nutrition during emergencies — to "share" a meal with someone in need.
But why Homs and why pregnant mothers?
Syria's third-largest city is where some of the most violent clashes between the rebels and President Bashar al-Assad's army has taken place. A ceasefire was put in place in December 2015 to allow civilians and fighters alike to finally flee the area, but many still remain.
"Homs has experienced particularly severe fighting and has been largely destroyed," Domenica Sabella, WFP's media and communications officer, told A Plus in an email. "[Despite the ceasefire] its inhabitants are still in dire need of support. Displaced by violence and with limited income, pregnant and nursing mothers and their children are extremely vulnerable of food insecurity and malnutrition."
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The app's goal is to raise enough funds to cover the cost of supporting 2,000 women for a year. Users who donate 50 cents will help provide women and mothers with vital nutrition for a day. "The mothers receive vouchers to buy fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy, and meat, which allows them to improve their dietary diversity," Sabella added.
As the Syrian civil war rages on, we've watched the death toll rise as governmental action lags behind and heart-wrenching images of refugees crossing the borders are distributed across the world. Some cities have been cut off from humanitarian aid, left to die without food, medical aid, and basic supplies.
While some efforts — like donating to the plethora of charities that purport to support victims of the Syrian war — are productive, ShareTheMeal intends to bridge the disconnect when a donor is in the dark about where exactly their money is going to, and all for as little as 50 cents.
Head on over to ShareTheMeal's website to learn more about the initiative.
Cover image via Prazis / Shutterstock