A Soul Affair

November 10, 2013

Rickshaw Stop, San Francisco


Thank you to everyone who came out!  We heard and danced to great soul music spun by DJs RTomayko & Newmerator.  Rickshaw Stop donated the space and even made a custom, delicious drink called Running Chix.  There were even wonderful snacks from RetroWagon.  

Most importantly of all, we raised over $1200!  That is more than enough to support the feeding program for 600 children over 6 months. 

Special thanks to Shannon of Party with Soul for initiating and organizing the event, to Christopher of Rickshaw Stop for donating his space and employees, and to Ryan & David for a night of great music.  Thank you also to all those who helped publicize through tweets and posts.

We look forward to doing another event in the coming months, and hope you will come then too! 


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Learning About the Need in Kisumu

Running Chicken focuses all of its efforts on creating sustainable development and entrepreneurial opportunity to the women and children of the Kisumu region of Kenya; but for those of us that have not had the pleasure of visiting Kenya, we may not know much about the people of this region, its beauty, and its needs.

Let’s start with Kenya, the country boasts a population of 39 million people, and Nairobi, the nation’s capital, is home to over 2.1 million people. The people of Kenya represent a mix of religions with Protestant (45%), Roman Catholic (33%), Muslim (10%), and a mix of other religions (12%). The county’s official languages are English and Kiswahili. Life expectancy at birth is 57 for females, and 58 for males, and the country is home to over 2.3 million registered orphans. 

Kisumu is the third largest city in Kenya and is located on the shores of Lake Victoria in western Kenya, in the Nyanza province. While no official census has been conducted in the Nyanza province for nearly 15 years, the population is estimated to be close to 1 million people. The people of Kisumu are predominantly Christian, with a strong Muslim minority. As the third largest city in Kenya, the poverty rate in Nyanza province lies at approximately 63% - the highest in Kenya. The area is home to over 600,000 of the country’s registered orphans. While poor, the region itself thrives with rich sugar and rice irrigation industries. – supplied to much of east Africa.

Unfortunately, the city has been unable to support its rapid population growth. Lack of access to clean water is an ongoing problem, and diseases such as cholera, dysentery, and typhoid cause numerous deaths each year. Lack of proper nutrition, malaria, and failing infrastructure are also prevalent issues. While education is free in Kenya, school uniforms are not, preventing thousands of children from attending school each year. HIV education continues to be extremely important.

The Impact of Giving
To provide a better understanding of how far your support can go, take a look at the small costs that can drastically improve the livelihood of the residents of Kisumu. 

$5 can buy:  a bed net (lasts five years) to prevent malaria.  Malaria is the leading cause of death for children in Kenya. Proper use of insecticide-treated bed nets is the most effective malaria prevention measure available at this time.

$10 can buy:  a book for the library at the home and resource center for vulnerable children.

$25 can buy:  a school uniform including shoes to ensure that the inability to pay this mandatory expense does not prevent a child from going to school

$50 can buy:  three months of medical care for all 14 residents of the home and resource center for vulnerable children

$100 can buy:  New pots, pans, plates, cups and utensils for the outreach feeding program that serves more than 600 students and children in the community

$200 can buy:  8 complete school uniforms, including shoes.  While primary education is free in Kenya, school uniforms are mandatory and present a prohibitive cost to families living in poverty.

$1000 can buy:  Six months of meals for more than 600 students.  For students at Dago Thim Primary school – many of whom walk more than 2km to and from school - this lunch is sometimes the only reliable meal of the day.

$15,000 can buy:  A year of operating expenses for the home and resource center for vulnerable children.  The current 14 residents and other at-risk children in the community visit the center for basic living, medical and educational resources. Meeting our goal ensures that the needs of these children are met.

Article by Catherine Leys, October 2012.  Needs list by Veronica Ensign, July 2012.

*Source - UNICEF and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) - http://www.unaids.org/en/media/unaids/contentassets/documents/unaidspublication/2011/20111130_UA_Report_en.pdf

*CIA World Factbook - https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/flags/flagtemplate_ke.html

*Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kisumu

The OctoGala

Glitz, glamour and swag – all the makings of a fantastic event. It’s not often us folks at Running Chicken get to put on our top hats and ball gowns, and we were happy to take full advantage as sponsor recipient for the first annual OctoGala event. The event was hosted by GitHub, a San Francisco-based social coding company which provides friends, co-workers, classmates, and complete strangers with a website where they can store, write, and collaborate on software-coding projects.


The OctoGala took place at Brick and Mortar Music Hall in San Francisco, Sunday, July 22nd. RunningChicken board members were joined by our supporters, GitHub employees, and various tech geniuses from the San Francisco area. The night included all of the ingredients for success; delicious food, cocktails, entertainment, and dancing - with all ticket proceeds going directly to Running Chicken’s programs. Executive Director Veronica Ensign shared our current projects, future goals, and the valuable impact ticket proceeds will have on our programs.

We are thrilled with the outcome of the event, and look forward to seeking out similar opportunities in the future. A hearty THANK YOU to GitHub for their generous sponsorship; ticket proceeds totaled over $7000.00 - a HUGE gift to our programs.

Here is a breakdown of how some of this funding can be used (see entry #3); check out our blog in the coming months for full information on fund usage. -- Catherine Leys, 08/13/2012

Plan for Using Gala Funds

Funds raised at the OctoGala will bring security to two core Running Chicken programs based near Kisumu, Kenya: a home and resource center for vulnerable children and a school-based feeding program. The children’s home currently houses 14 full time residents and is also open to kids in the community to visit for assistance. Monthly operating expenses include rent, utilities, food and cooking supplies, medical care and supplies, and educational fees and supplies (including school uniforms and shoes). Additional funds will ensure that we are better prepared to not only support the full time residents at our facility but also to serve other vulnerable children in the community who come to the children’s home for help. Additional funding will help maintain our library and will enable us to provide new sports equipment and art supplies – important resources for our residents that we aren’t always able to provide.

Malaria net distribution.

Malaria net distribution.

The school-based feeding program guarantees students – many of whom walk a long way to and from school - at least one nutritious meal every day (even during weekends and holidays). Funds raised at the OctoGala will support our efforts to strengthen the infrastructure of this critical program and will also allow us to serve community members that sometimes turn to the school for emergency meals.  

With OctoGala funds, Running Chicken will also be able to launch and pilot a greenhouse farming project. Start-up costs often prevent good ideas with revenue generating potential from being implemented in the community we work with. This project represents a promising intervention that provides immediate return in the form of sustenance for the children’s home and school-based feeding program, and also presents the opportunity to generate sustainable revenues for these programs. --Veronica Ensign, 08/01/2012