Starvation, genocide, mass graves, the struggle for survival. Those were some of the topics under discussion at a recent luncheon in the glamorous Rotunda at Neiman Marcus. Over scones and strawberry butter, we heard about the horrible conditions in Darfur, and how things are only getting worse.
Thousands of children are missing. Homes and villages are being burned. Women are being raped. Millions live in camps, desperate for food and shelter and peace while the world worries of other things.
Your typical ladies luncheon? I’d like to think that in San Francisco, yeah, it is. I was the only male at the table, invited by Claudia Ross who is on the founding board of Care Through Action, a non-profit organization that was created just seven months ago by a group of professional women in San Francisco who simply decided it was time to do something to help the situation in Darfur.
Diana Britt of salesforce.com was one of the founders, along with Gina Pell (founder of Splendora), Amy Parker (a Splendora executive), photographer and journalist Alissa Everett, and Claudia Ross (founder of Cross Marketing PR.)
(Gina Pell, Diana Britt, and Alissa Everett at a December fund raiser.)
Diana told me that in the short time the organization has existed, they have raised $25,000. “We raised $19,000 at our first event alone. And we actually sent all of that money to Friends of the World Food Program, for additional food assistance to the camps in Sudan. So we’re making a difference, little by little. “
Their immediate objective is to get photographer Alissa Everett to the Sudan, or the Chad border, this month , so she can document what is happening there and urge people to intervene.
“Over the last six months there’s been very limited access from a press standpoint, and there’s just been very limited focus on what’s happening. But there’s been a lot more activity. The Janjaweed soldiers are burning homes. There’s over 60,000 children missing! It’s a very, very — horrible situation. So we want to get Alissa back over there to at least bring it back to us locally, as well as nationally.”
In order to achieve their goals, Care Through Action needs to raise $12,000 by April 30. Alissa, who will be traveling with the Friends of the World Food Program, will need this money for her travel expenses and basic survival supplies. It’s a very dangerous trip, but she feels it’s absolutely vital that the world sees what’s happening there, and that, essentially, is her calling as a photojournalist.
Funds can be donated to Care through Action via PayPal or a check can be sent directly to the organization, made payable to:
Care Through Action
600 Harrison Street #100
San Francisco, CA 94107