Last Friday evening, Heifer International hosted its first ever Beyond Hunger event. I attended to provide support as Heifer’s PR manager, and I’d like to give you an insider’s view of the night. Stay tuned later this week for video clips of the evening’s highlights. Photos courtesy of Heifer International.
Living the Hollywood event was a bit of a blur – the stars walking the “green” carpet, the reporters asking questions, ladies posing in pretty dresses (and high heels) for the cameras, and then me, decidedly unglamorous, there with a head set not so discreetly attached to my dress. My job was to prep, escort and in some cases stall our celebrity guests as they taped a short video public service announcement for Heifer International. I’m happy to report all the stars gladly sang our praises and gave personal accounts of how and why Heifer resonates with them.
Once the dinner got started, so did the speeches. All were impressive, but I was most in awe of Heifer’s own Beatrice Biira. I’ve read Beatrice’s Goat many times, but hearing her tell the story of receiving a goat at age 9, in her own words, her own voice, describing her dreams of going to school to learn that “funny” language they speak (she was referring to English) was truly mesmerizing. She spoke about her parents not having enough money to see a doctor for malaria medication and that having the $20.00 needed to pay for a semester of school would have been a luxury. That all changed when a goat, Mugisa, meaning “blessing,” came to her family, providing her with nutritious milk and means to make money by selling the surplus.
She ended her speech stating that is was with humble gratitude that she thanked Heifer donors for their support allowing her to be a success story. Her speech was so emotionally inspiring that Mechad Brooks, turned to me and said, “I want to go on a trip with Heifer.”
We were fortunate to have videos from the Most Reverend Desmond Tutu and President Bill Clinton praising Mary Steenburgen and Ted Danson, honorees of the evening and recipients of the FIRST Noble Globe, for their commitment and dedication to Heifer’s mission.
The most entertaining part of the evening was the performance by Colbie Calliat. As she addressed the crowd, she admitted she had only recently been introduced to Heifer International, but because of Beatrice Biira’s story she was inspired and impressed by Heifer’s impact on communities. She rocked the room and brought the crowd to their dancing feet with her hit “Brighter Than The Sun.”
At the end of the night I felt proud of the work that went into the event by the entire team (those present and those in Little Rock) and thankful to be part of an organization that seeks to empower women and transform lives for generations to come.