Strike up the bamboula and tanbou, because it’s time for rara — the Meds & Food for Kids (MFK) RaRa! The Strength and Spirit of Haiti Virtual Gala, that is! For those who haven’t had the honor to witness Haitian culture firsthand, rara is a type of festival music that celebrates Haitian ancestry and independence. I was fortunate enough to experience the thrill of rara myself when I served as the virtual emcee for the recent MFK fundraiser dedicated to reversing malnutrition in Haiti.
Over the course of the evening, myself and the incredible Remenson Tenor not only celebrated the strength and spirit of the Haitian people but also raised $361,019 to help break the cycle of poverty and stimulate local economic development! Here’s a quick glimpse into what went down this Saturday in St. Louis, as well as more on the fantastic mission that brought us all together.
More on the Meds & Food for Kids (MFK) Mission
Where to start on the extraordinary mission of Meds & Food for Kids? Since 2003, MFK has been dedicated to reversing malnutrition in Haiti and 16 neighboring countries while simultaneously stimulating local economic development. Their mission is split between St. Louis, Missouri, where the corporate office and board is located, and Haiti, where the true magic happens.
In the port city of Cap-Haïtien, Haiti, 88 Haitian men and women produce Ready-to-Use-Therapeutic Foods (RUTFs) using local peanuts sourced from smallholder farmers. For instance, Medika Mamba — “peanut butter medicine” in Haitian Creole — is regarded by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the “gold standard treatment” for severe acute malnutrition among children.
The RUTFs produced by MFK are shelf-stable in tropical temperatures for 24 months and do not require any preparation. While the RUTFs themselves give malnourished children and pregnant and nursing women a chance to thrive, the production process transfers valuable knowledge and skills to Haitian men and women and engages local farmers to stimulate the local economy.
From Haiti to St. Louis with the Incredible MFK Team
I can spend hours singing MFK their praises, not just because of the magnificent work they do but also because of what I’ve been able to witness myself firsthand. In December 2019, I partnered with MFK for the first time to visit Haiti, which was a life-changing experience. I was able to perform in orphanages for the children and even tour the factory where the RUTFs are made!
A few months later, in February 2020, I hosted and performed at a fundraiser for MFK to recount my recent experiences — and fun fact, that was also my last in-person event before the COVID-19 shut down! When February 2021 rolled around, it was obvious that MFK would need a virtual event emcee to maintain the fundraising efforts we had put forth the year before.
So, we gathered in St. Louis, where the MFK board is located. This year, we returned to St. Louis once more, with me as the virtual emcee! More specifically, we headed to Spot Content Studio, an amazing professional studio with outstanding production quality. But this year, RaRa! The Strength and Spirit of Haiti required another pair of hands to truly educate and entertain the audience.
Enter the one and only Remenson Tenor! Remenson is the Director of Manufacturing Operations at the RUTF factory in Haiti and I was honored to have him join me as co-host for the evening. Together we ignited and delighted the audience with custom interactive games, and the best part? Remenson was prepared to don some iconic fuzzy slippers with me… his were giraffes!
Educate and Entertain the Audience for a Spectacular Cause
Fuzzy slippers aside, it’s important to remember what this night was truly about — the people of Haiti. It was integral to everyone in the studio that we honored and respected the tone of the evening and the serious nature of what brought us together. However, it was also important to celebrate how far the MFK mission has come and the joy that is the MFK community.
We began the evening with the more serious programming, discussing how donor generosity enables the organization to serve undernourished children and mothers, buy high-quality peanuts from smallholder farmers, and provide jobs and opportunities to skilled women and men in Haiti. To better educate the audience on their impacts, we moved along to custom interactive games.
As the virtual emcee and event partner, I created three virtual games: over and under with numbers, quiz bingo, and trivia. What made these games custom? I used MFK stats and history, like the 563,000+ children saved from malnutrition and 2,500 farmers trained in best practices, to create totally branded and educational games that boosted the engagement in the fundraiser!
Together with Remenson, we were able to teach more about what MFK does all while having fun and bantering with one another. In addition to the custom games, I also spent my time in pre-production recording voice-overs for MFK videos, which you can hear in the event recap below. It was awesome to put my home studio and professional microphone to use for an incredible organization and heartfelt client!
Testimonial from the Great People at MFK
“Jeff has hosted our annual fundraiser three years in a row now. We ask him back because he’s amazing and very effective. His charisma helps us bring friends and funds to our organization each year. This year, I had the sheer pleasure of working directly with him at our event. And … WOW. I was overwhelmed by his professionalism, his dedication to his craft, his energy.
He worked WITH us, not for us, really. A seamless member of the team. He earnestly believes in what he does and in what we do, and that comes across in his work. Plus, he’s a ton of fun to be around. He brings great ideas, creativity and joy to the space he’s in. Events are hard work for any organization. Jeff does a lot of the heavy lifting, and that helps everything go smoothly.
He even took the time to visit our location in Haiti (not an easy place to visit) and performed for kids and our staff, bringing much happiness and entertainment to everyone. He’s versatile, dynamic, and hard-working. I wholeheartedly recommend Jeff for stellar events.” — Suzanne Langlois, Interim CEO of MFK
P.S. Want to read more client testimonials like this one? Click here!
Are Virtual Fundraising Events (and Virtual Emcees) Here to Stay?
Now that I’ve been the virtual event emcee for not one but two Meds & Food for Kids events, it begs the question… are virtual fundraising events here to stay? The answer is yes! Virtual events are absolutely here to stay, especially for global organizations that can broaden their fundraiser base internationally with the use of a widely accessible virtual fundraiser.
This year was hands down the best one yet with MFK — RaRa! The Strength and Spirit of Haiti was practically a television show with how well-produced it was, with multiple camera angles, a floor manager, and a full crew. We’ve even considered bringing a studio audience into Spot Content next year for a true hybrid event!
With virtual events and nationwide streaming a permanent option for events, having a virtual emcee who understands this medium is key. Your virtual event emcee should know how to work a prompter and chat, and be well-versed in getting people involved. It’s also helpful to opt for a virtual emcee with fundraising experience.
As the founder and chairman of Win-Win Entertainment, I’m a virtual emcee who’s very comfortable fundraising. I know how to tactfully ask for donations and how to ride the line between understanding the solemn tone of an event and also celebrating when fundraising succeeds. Helping children is near and dear to my heart, which is why I am so grateful to be the virtual emcee for MFK!
Virtual Emcee with Fundraising and Fun-Raising Experience
To everyone that dialed into the Meds & Food for Kids (MFK) RaRa! The Strength and Spirit of Haiti Virtual Gala, I have one thing to say — chapo ba pou nou, or hats off to you! The team is ecstatic to have raised $361,019 to help break the cycle of poverty and stimulate local economic development, and you can donate to help them reach their goal of $500,000 by visiting the Gala fundraiser link.
Speaking of donating, are you hosting a charitable fundraiser and need a virtual emcee? I know just the guy! For a professional virtual emcee with years of experience and the talent to raise funds, be sure to send me a booking inquiry today.