Students visits every single dorm room, raises money for famine in Somalia

When roommates Jesse Richards and Mark Schussler need to settle a bet, they play “What are the Odds.” Both challenger and challenged think of a number between 1-10, and on the count of three, the numbers are announced at the same time. Should the two numbers match, the challenged must complete whatever task was bet upon.
So when Richards and Schussler both said “five!” a bet was slated to be fulfilled.
The wager? To attempt to get 25 cents from every dorm room on campus. The cause? Helping the needy in the war-torn country of Somalia through the social media movement “Love Army For Somalia.”
Richards and Schussler are both juniors at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. Dordt only has roughly 1,300 undergraduate students, but that still meant more than 700 doors to knock on. All they asked for was a quarter to help contribute to famine relief in the African country.
“We asked people for quarters because everyone uses them for laundry,” says Richards. “We figured everyone would have some, and it wasn’t too much to ask from a college student.” And when many students heard about the cause, they often gave more.
“We ended up with like five $20 bills,” says Richards.
In total, the guys raised $253 over four hours.
“The only people who didn’t give anything were those who genuinely didn’t have a quarter on them,” says Schussler. “Everybody gave something.”
The duo is sending the donations to the Love Army for Somalia GoFundMe page, which was created on behalf of actor Ben Stiller’s Stiller Foundation and spread through social media.
“This movement started with a crazy idea, what if we could convince Turkish Airlines to let us use one of their flights to Somalia? And fill it with food! One shipment – providing immediate relief for immediate need,” reads the GoFundMe description.
Much to their surprise, Turkish Airlines responded with an offer. Use of their fleet’s cargo planes, capable of shipping 60 tons of food to Somalia, as well as allowance to ship food crates on every commercial flight to Somalia until the end of the famine.
The page has received more than $2.5 million in donations, blowing past the lofty goal of $2 million.
Richards and Schussler were happy to get involved. After knocking on every door at every residence hall on campus, the guys were surprised at the generosity of their classmates but not shocked.
“It’s a really tight-knit community here on campus,” Richards says. “A lot of people know each other, so that definitely helped [us].”
Richards is a computer science major looking to get into film editing and design, while Schussler thinks his mechanical engineering degree might best be served through missionary work. As for future fundraising efforts, the guys say all they need is another good idea.
And for both of them to say, “five!”
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