On a mission trip to Honduras in 2009, Ben Pirtle was shocked when his group was handing out food and toys to children in the area and the children bypassed the toys to get to the first meal they had eaten in days.
“They were more concerned with some rice and some beans than with having a toy,” he said. “I’ve never seen children who preferred food to a toy, who preferred food to fun.”
Pirtle’s host in Honduras, Jimmy Hughes, would always repeat the line “hello somebody” when he spoke. He used this line as a way to encourage people to realize those in need around them.
Pirtle felt called to action and after a dream he made it his goal to serve one million meals in a year. After he met Manny Martinez, who became co-founder and CEO of their organization, in early 2010, the two started their movement in Haiti and called it Hello Somebody.
To meet their goal, Hello Somebody sells “products with a purpose.” They sell T-shirts, sweatshirts, watches and more. The profits directly fund meals for starving people all around the world.
They soon reached their initial goal and have continued to sell products to fund even more meals for hungry people.
Hello Somebody is now also focusing on education.
According to their mission statement, Hello Somebody aims to feed and educate children by providing an knowledge to break the cycle of poverty and hunger within a generation.
“By educating children, we know that one day they can grow up to be responsible, hard-working adults and they can provide for their families and protect their families from hunger,” Pirtle said.
Hello Somebody will visit WSU Monday at 7 p.m. in the Compton Union Building Auditorium, sponsored in part by Resonate Church, Residence Life and Greek Life.
“CougParent Foundation of WSU is backing this event by giving a grant and then partnering with Resonate Church to sponsor this event,"Resonate Campus Pastor Drew Worsham said.
Worsham heard about Hello Somebody via their promotion through popular bands such as The Rocket Summer and Switchfoot.
“I fell in love with the heart and vision behind the non-profit organization,” he said. “I believe that college students have a deep desire to make a difference in the world that we live in, and it definitely doesn’t hurt to get a trendy piece of apparel that when purchased feeds 100 kids and gives you a sweet story to share.”
Resonate Church and WSU hope to sponsor a child, a 9-year-old boy named Felix Ufiteyezu from Rwanda, through watch sales. The goal is to sell 70 watches.
“If we accomplish that goal, Felix will have two meals a day and education for a year so that he can stop hunger for his family,” Worsham said. “Also, we are dreaming big, but we would love to see every residence hall and every Greek house take on the challenge of sponsoring one child for the year.”
The watches will be sold for $20 to $25 each along with T-shirts and hoodies. Each item sold feeds 100 children.
At Monday’s event, traveling communicator Ed Newton and musician Ryan Edgar will share the vision and heart behind the organization. Worsham will also perform a magic act at the event.
Worsham said even though this event is sponsored by Resonate Church, it is not a Christian event.
“I know that sometimes the idea of a church hosting something like this could turn students away and give them the wrong impression,” he said. “And although the three guys that will be on stage and performing are all Christians, no religious views will be shared.”
Everyone is invited to take part in the Hello Someboy event.
“The goal for Monday night’s event is to raise awareness of children who are in need of food and education across the globe,” Worsham said. “Single handedly we can’t save the world, but if each of us does a little, together we can do a lot.”