Plumpy’Nutters: Fundraising for health charity Merlin

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With a suggestion by our Digital Marketing Manager Martin Broadhurst who became our first Plumpy’Nutter (a fitting description), Dawn and I were persuaded to put our nuts where our mouths are for the day to raise awareness of Plumpy’Nut and secure vital funds for Merlin, an international health charity.

About Plumpy’Nut

Plumpy’Nut comes in 92g sachets and is described as a “peanut-based paste, with sugar, vegetable fat and skimmed milk powder, enriched with vitamins and minerals” and with 500 calories in each sachet, is specifically designed for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition and manufactured by French company, Nutriset. Removing the need for hospitalisation, the sachets can be administered at home, allowing larger numbers to be treated and brought back to health.

The Challenge

For one day we could eat nothing but four 92g sachets of Plumpy’Nut and drink only water. For every £50 raised, Merlin can feed a malnourished child with Plumpy’Nut for 8 weeks and save their life. We had a modest target of £150 and so far we have raised over £185.

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A few words from us Plumpy’Nutters:

Why did you decide to do the Plumpy’Nut challenge?

Dawn: The enthusiastic efforts of Martin and Rhiannon, and the reason behind the campaign: to raise awareness of the work of the charity Merlin and help save children’s lives.

Martin: I have been a supporter of Merlin ever since I heard a report about the work they have done with victims of rape in Darfur. They are an amazing charity who punch above their weight given the financial resources they have at their disposal so this challenge seemed like a great way to help boost their profile, raise awareness of the latest techniques for battling child hunger and also raise a bit of cash in the process.

Rhiannon: It’s a great campaign idea, encouraging people to use Twitter to actively promote the charity Merlin and a very specific area of their work. Many people I have spoken to had never heard of Plumpy’Nut even though it is now a staple of international famine relief. Knowing that the same thing we were eating would feed children who need it desperately to survive, really made a connection with me.

What’s Plumpy’Nut like then?

Dawn: Sweet peanut putty.

Martin: Plumpy’Nut is interesting. The texture is quite gritty, like a sandy paste, and the flavour is like a sweetened peanut butter. It’s not as nice as peanut butter (or, if you don’t like peanut butter, it isn’t as peanutty as peanut butter) and it definitely requires having a glass of water to eat it with as it is a little sticky in the mouth.

Rhiannon: I imagined it would be like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups without the chocolate. It wasn’t. The texture felt like you could mould it, like plasticine, but I was told not to play with my food so I didn’t. I’m not a big fan of peanuts either so this was even more of a challenge for me.

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What was the hardest part of the day?

Martin: Waking up and thinking about breakfast and then realising I couldn’t have anything except some paste. Also, the lack of coffee throughout the day proved to be quite challenging.

Rhiannon: The evening. My fridge was taunting me with its wares. Someone brought and left a massive bar of Cadbury’s round at the weekend too so that was staring at me all night. The lack of caffeine had more of an impact than the food though – I was asleep by 9.30.

Dawn: I wasn’t feeling 100% so only managed to consume 1.25 sachets during the day and started to really flag late afternoon. I was working on a pitch and my head just wasn’t functioning properly by early evening – I really should have eaten more Plumpy’Nut, I know! I managed another ½ sachet in the evening and then gave in to an early night.

What food did you crave the most?

Martin: Everything. Anything. Except peanut butter.

Rhiannon: Anything with carbs. Particularly pies and pizza and chips. I’m still hungry today actually.

Dawn: Cup of tea, fruit and toast.

Given that people still have until the end of March to take part in the challenge themselves, how would you persuade them to do it?

Martin: You only need to raise £50 and it is one day out of your life. How difficult can it be?

Rhiannon: As challenges go, it’s not that difficult. The effort is minimal compared to the results. The awareness the campaign raises through social media activity is almost as important as the funds.

Dawn: It’s easy to sign up and helps to raise awareness/understanding….a malnourished child would eat these every day for 8 weeks. These sachets of peanut paste literally save lives, so spending one day to help raise funds to do that is a no brainer.

Sign up for the Plumpy’Nut challenge and see what you think of the nutty paste whilst raising awareness and funds for Merlin.

Or if we’ve put you off trying it, but you’d like to support our efforts yesterday, you can still donate on Katapult’s fundraising page.

By Rhiannon Hulse

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