Benefit supper in Lewiston tonight to aid famine victims in Somalia

LEWISTON — The public is invited to a meal featuring African and American food tonight at a fundraiser to benefit famine victims in Somalia.

Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Abdifatah Ahmed, left, executive director of Atlantic Global Aid, has organized a multicultural dinner to be held in Lewiston on Saturday to raise money to help famine victims in Somalia. Hussein Ahmed, right, is raising money through donations made at his Global Halal Market on Lisbon Street in Lewiston.

Go and do

WHAT: Multicultural dinner featuring African and American dishes. Sponsored by local volunteers and Atlantic Global Aid (

WHY: To help famine victims in Somalia

WHEN: 6:30 tonight

HOW MUCH: $20, $50 or $100, depending on how much a person wants to donate

WHERE: Multi-Purpose Center, Birch Street, Lewiston

The supper begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Multi-Purpose Community Center on Birch Street. Individual tickets cost $20, $50 or $100, depending on the amount a person wants to contribute. The event will include a slide show of famine conditions in Somalia and Kenya.

Organizer Abdifatah Ahmed, a pharmacist who lives in Auburn, said the food will be tasty.

“We have people cooking really good food, traditional African food,” he said. Local restaurants will donate American food, he said.

African dishes will feature rice, chicken and vegetables. The popular samosa, which is similar to a burrito, features “really good stuff, beef and vegetables, onions and spice,” Ahmed said.

Another food will be the traditional Ethiopian injera, a large, bread-like wrap that holds beef, sauce and hot spices. The food will be prepared by "professional people who cook," Ahmed said.

He said an army of volunteers, including students from Bates College and the University of Southern Maine's Lewiston-Auburn College, will set up and serve. Local dignitaries, including Lewiston Mayor Larry Gilbert and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, will attend.

The dinner is one of several events that Ahmed's nonprofit group, Atlantic Global Aid, is sponsoring to help people "back home.”

Atlantic Global Aid was formed last year to deliver medicine, medical personnel, volunteers and supplies to Somalia. The group works with a hospital in Kenya, Partners for World Health in Scarborough, Maine, WomanKind school in Kenya, and Benadir University in Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia.

Ahmed is the executive director of Atlantic Global Aid. He holds a PhD in pharmacy from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. He fled Somalia in 1991 at age 14 when the civil war broke out. He moved to Boston to live with his uncle.

He's been back to Somalia, delivering food and medical supplies. Atlantic Global Aid's immediate goal is to raise $15,000 to $20,000 and return to Somalia in December with food, supplies and volunteers.

Asked how the group would deliver aid without being robbed, Ahmed said he'd done his homework.

“You need to do a lot of good work on the ground, get the right people," he said. "We have a team going with us from Maine with the supplies.”

They plan to go to the Somalia border at Kenya and proceed to Mogadishu. His group has worked with embassy officials and the Kenyan government. Those officials and Global Aid's people over there have recommended who to work with, he said.

What Ahmed and others have seen there is heartbreaking, he said.

The worst drought in decades has made the conditions in war-torn Somalia go from bad to worse. Crops and farm animals have died, leaving no food. Parents walking to overcrowded refugee camps in Kenya have left children who died on the way by the road, hoping someone would bury them, Ahmed said. “There's a lot of sad stories.”

Most of the dying are children, he said, adding that his group wants to help with supplies and hope.

“A lot of people in Lewiston-Auburn have family members back home,” he said. “As a good neighbor, you want to help when there's a crisis.”

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Dan Moody's picture


God will help ???

DAVE GUDAS's picture

The delivery plan

The delivery plan for all this seems somewhat ill-conceived, sketchy and if at all practical... downright dangerous. Transporting a large bulky valuable cargo from the Kenyan border to Mogadishu relying on officials who have little to no apparent control over the area to recommend friends and "who to deal with"??? sounds like back alley dealing at its finest.

Jessie Fields's picture

You can thank the

You can thank the conservatives who are doing everything in their power to eliminate aid to people in OUR country. They'd love to see an end to welfare (unless its corporate welfare, that is), healthcare (let 'em die!) and unemployment benefits. Look, I'm all for helping my neighbor. And I do. But, I'm sorry, the majority of people in this country are not suffering to the same extent the people in Somalia are. Not yet, anyway.

Joe Morin's picture

Can I ask you a Q Jessie??

Do you believe in human nature?? secondly, in the raising of your children will you give them things without requiring any work or expectations??? Just curious. I agree about the suffering in Somalia, just remember this quote" But, I'm sorry, the majority of people in this country are not suffering to the same extent the people in Somalia are."

Nick Adams's picture

All I'm gonna say is, Civil

All I'm gonna say is, Civil Disobedience toward this...

Melissa  Dunn's picture

Sambousa!!! and it issss

Sambousa!!! and it issss delicious! one of my favorite foods that i havent been able to have in such a longgg time! yum! i am so disappointed because i really wanted to make it to THIS dinner. i'm scrambling anyways. such a great idea and for a good cause. it is the right thing to do... i have been following the news about what has been happening in somalia... so horrific, so sad... and ANY help is HELP. good luck with your dinner and i hope you have a good turn out! x


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