Alexa Letkeman: Famine compels student to action
When Alexa Letkeman learned about the famine in East Africa, she knew she had to do something. The grade 7 MEI student learned about the drought and famine as part of a class at school and was moved to action by the sheer scale of the disaster.
“We had to answer some questions after we read about this famine and reading about how many people have died and how many people are close to dying really struck me,” she said. “I had to do something.”
Alexa and her family attend the Bridge Community Church where they often hold bake sales. Alexa thought that this might be a good way to raise funds for people who are hungry. As she shared her idea with others she received encouragement to pursue it. Her extended family and friends helped with the baking. The bake sale raised just under $1,000 for MCC’s response to the famine in East Africa.
Organizing and participating in the bake sale taught Alexa a few things about herself.
“I learned that I have a very compassionate heart that reaches out to people,” she said, adding that she often feels sad when she sees others in pain. “I also learned that I am scared to go in front of a large amount of people and speak with no one by my side!”
Her pastor’s wife suggested that Alexa send her funds to Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). After doing some research on the organization and learning how funds are used by MCC in response to the East Africa Famine, she decided that this was the organization for her.
Donations to MCC’s drought response are enabling MCC to provide life-saving food vouchers, water and other support to tens of thousands of people in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia. Along with food and water, MCC is also providing blankets and mosquito nets as well as school supplies to support the education of children in refugee camps.
The experience of raising funds for others in need has made an impact on Alexa as she thinks about her future.
“I really think that this is not the end of my helping people,” she says. “God is going to take me on more journeys like this one.”
She also wants to encourage anyone else who is moved by compassion to make a difference in the life of someone in need.
“It only takes one person to start something and make a difference in the world.”
For more information about MCC and its response to the famine in East Africa visit mcc.org/eastafricadrought