The United Nations World Food Program has come up with a simple way to feed more underfed children: An app that instantaneously collects donations from smartphone users. The clever bit? ShareTheMeal is designed to be used as donors themselves are sitting down to dinner, lunch, or breakfast.
Sebastian Stricker, who created ShareTheMeal, says tying donations to meals is a useful “emotional hook” because you’re most likely to think about someone not eating when you’re eating yourself.
“The idea is to make it as easy as possible to do good. You can press the button, and the child who has nothing eats for a full day. Something good happens to you, and you want to pay it forward,” he says.
The app was tested in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland this June, and the response was impressive. More than 120,000 people downloaded it, providing enough money for 1.7 million meals in Lesotho, in southern Africa. Donations peaked during meal times, with the most coming at dinner.
The free app just launched globally on iOS, Android, and Amazon. Users just have to open the program, choose how much they want to donate (starting at 50 cents), and put in payment information. Donating takes two seconds or less.
Donations from the latest release will go to the Zaatari refugee camp in northern Jordan, where 20,000 Syrian children are currently stranded. “We’ll give them school meals,” Stricker says. “The rationale is to break this vicious cycle of hunger and lack of education.”