Melody Moberg

A benefit to raise money for Doctors Without Borders will be held at Harmony Caf****e accent**** from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 7. The event is titled “Childhood Malnutrition in Africa” and will consist of a panel of three speakers, five bands and fundraising.
All proceeds from the event are going to Doctors Without Borders to fund Plumpy Nut, a nutrition-packed substance made from peanut butter, powdered milk, powdered sugar and vitamins and minerals.
The event was organized by junior Jessica McKenzie. McKenzie first heard about Plumpy Nut while taking Medical Anthropology with Assistant Professor of Anthropology Brenda Jenike last fall. After watching a “60 Minutes” clip about Plumpy Nut, McKenzie was “amazed by this discovery and stunned to find out that so many people hadn’t heard about it.”
She began an internship at Harmony Café during winter term and was told to design an event of her choice. McKenzie came up with “Childhood Malnutrition in Africa” to raise funds and awareness about Doctors Without Borders and their work with Plumpy Nut.
According to McKenzie, malnutrition is the cause of death for 5 million children each year, a startling statistic that is equivalent to one child every six seconds. Typically, it is difficult to help malnourished African children because they often do not have access to clean drinking water or electricity.
However, Plumpy Nut does not require water, cooking or refrigeration. Within four weeks of eating Plumpy Nut, a child can go from severely malnourished to healthy. Plumpy Nut only costs one dollar for a daily dose, so for approximately 28 dollarsa, a child can be brought from malnourished to healthy.
“When I began planning the event, the first group I thought about was SWAHP. With their focus on hunger and poverty — the two key issues with malnutrition — they were an ideal connection.”
Additionally, Harmony Café donated the space, the bands and speakers donated their time, local businesses donated products and certificates, and LUCC covered some costs associated with the event, such as refreshments and basket supplies for the raffle.
Overall, McKenzie’s efforts in putting this event together have been overwhelmingly positive. “The Lawrence and Appleton communities really seem to be excited about the event!”
Speakers include Associate Professor of Anthropology Mark Jenike, Greg Sampson, who is pastor of San Damiano Church, and Ifueko Okundaye, who is a physician in the local community.
The bands performing will be: Scotty & the Snowmachines, SparrowHawk, The Paul Dietrich Quartet, Moonbox and Dawn Juan.
There is a suggested three dollar donation at the door to cover refreshments and entertainment. Raffle tickets will also be sold for two dollars each, or three for five dollars. Prize baskets include over 50 certificates to local Appleton businesses, ranging in value from five to 85 dollars.
McKenzie’s passion for humanitarian work has extended into her Lawrence academics as well. She designed her major in Health Care and Human Behavioral Studies around her goal of someday working in children’s health.
“I want to help children dealing with chronic and life-threatening illnesses, in particular. I would love to work with an organization like the Ronald McDonald House, Make-A-Wish Foundation, or an international relief nonprofit such as The Red Cross. This event gives me a chance to experience what I want to do with the rest of my life,” McKenzie said.
McKenzie hopes to raise as much monetary support for Doctors Without Borders as possible. She also hopes to raise awareness in the Lawrence and Appleton community, wanting everyone to know that “there is something small we can each do to offset the effects of malnutrition.”
“Childhood Malnutrition in Africa” has an event listing on Facebook where students can get more information about the benefit. Information about Doctors Without Borders can be found at the Web site