Athletes use GoFundMe Platform “Love Army for Somalia” to Pay it Forward

By Casey Sudzina, @CaseySudzina

The campaign creators. Photo via the Love Army for Somalia GoFundMe page

The campaign creators. Photo via the Love Army for Somalia GoFundMe page

Love Army for Somalia is the latest viral charity initiative launched on GoFundMe, and the campaign has managed to reel in millions to better the third world nation with the help of many celebrity icons, including some well-known athletes in the sports world. Five friends: Chaka, Casey, Juanpa, Amanda, and Ben Stiller have all collaborated to help fight the famine currently happening in Somalia.

The initiative was started via Ben Stiller’s charity platform The Stiller Foundation. The campaign has a goal to raise money to send 60 tons of food to Somalia, including 10 tons of rice, vegetable cooking oil, nutritional biscuits, flour, sugar, and porridge. There will also be water trucks delivered.

Jerome Jarre, a famous French Snapchatter, created the GoFundMe page that went viral thanks to his Snapchat advertising and YouTube videos created by each of the people involved. After the videos were created, Turkish Airlines approached the creators with a flight offering to transport the supplies to Somalia. The food was taken to an NGO that distributed it to communities in Somalia via refugee sites. The GoFundMe page generated over $1,000,000 in 24 hours, and it has currently exceeded its $2,000,000 goal by raising $2,423,375 and counting.

GoFundMe is a collaborative donation site, so there are many individuals all over the world to thank for contributing to this life altering cause. Some of the top donors to the cause are sports icons Colin Kaepernick (current NFL free agent) and Wilson Chandler (New York Knicks).

It is truly incredible to see sports creating a means for athletes to help with causes such as this, and it is certainly admirable to see athletes paying it forward to people who do not have the same opportunities as they did to be successful. Kaepernick has donated $50,000, and Chandler has donated $25,000.

Kaepernick (middle in blue hat) spending his time volunteering with Camp Taylor, an organization that helps children with cardiac issues. Photo via Camp Taylor website

Kaepernick (middle in blue hat) spending his time volunteering with Camp Taylor, an organization that helps children with cardiac issues. Photo via Camp Taylor website

With all of the political protests and controversy surrounding Kaepernick during the past NFL season, not many people know he committed to donating $1,000,000 to charity over the next year. He has been donating $100,000 per month since October 2016, and Love Army for Somalia happens to be one of the charities on the list. On his mindset for his commitment to charity, Kaepernick states:

“I’ve been very blessed to be in this position and be able to make the kind of money I do, and I have to help those people. I have to help these communities. It’s not right that they’re not put in a position to succeed or given those opportunities to succeed."
Chandler (front left) spending time providing families in need with meals during the holiday season. Photo via Denver Nuggets website

Chandler (front left) spending time providing families in need with meals during the holiday season. Photo via Denver Nuggets website

Chandler describes a similar rewarding feeling. He explains that New York during the holiday season is indescribable, but nothing beats the feeling of being able to give back during [the holidays]. He had joined with The Garden of Dreams Foundation through Madison Square Garden during the holiday season to provide meals for families in need. He is very active in charities, also involving himself with organizations involving clean eating for himself and to provide these types of food groups to those in need. He describes:

“Especially where I come from. I never met a person with healthy food at all. Not even close.”

The Love Army for Somalia initiative seems to fall right in line with most of Chandler’s past initiatives. It is incredible to watch sport open the eyes of these athletes, who may once have been underprivileged, to bring their lives full circle and allow others have the same opportunities to make a better life.

Among other top donors to the initiative are Calvin Harris, GoFundMe Team, Alex and Ani, Adam Wiles, Operation Blessing, and Jerry Hughes.

If you are interested in the initiative and want to donate, visit here!

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