Full Belly Feast
2/26, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Coastline Convention Center
501 Nutt Street
$50 before or $60 at door
It’s not just about being charitable; it’s about understanding the situation and constructing a practical solution. The Full Belly Project gives the opportunity for those who need help to help themselves, making areas and villages across the world sustainable. Their mission statement says it best, as the nonprofit organization cares about communities by building economy through agriculture that puts the value back into their local crops.
Jock Brandis, encore’s 2011 winner of Best Humanitarian is the idea man behind all the innovations that Full Belly produces. A trip to Africa influenced Brandis to make the Universal Nut Sheller in order to help the women of Mali shell peanuts at a faster rate without continually injuring their hands. The Universal Nut Sheller is the first of many inventions. It has more variations like the sheller with a bike attachment and an electrical powered sheller. There have been other adaptations of the sheller to accommodate more than just peanuts, like shea, jatropha and even coffee. The Rocking Water Pump, another helpful creation, can deliver upwards of five gallons of water per minute with just the ease of rocking back and forth. Currently, Brandis has been visiting the mountains of Rutherford County to partner with Cape Fear Rotary in the development of the Gravity Water Pump. The idea of this pump is to bring water to the cattle instead of the cattle gathering around the water source sullying its quality. All of these inventions are created to solve real-world problems.
It is important for the public to come out and support the hard work and dedication that Full Belly has put into improving the economic potential in global communities. As in previous years, the feast will be imaginatively catered with globally inspired cuisine from South East Asia through West Africa. Of course there will be no shortage of peanuts, but rumor has it that the other featured protein will be goat (maybe the possibility of an African influenced goat stew). Either way we crack this menu, the food will bring a unique taste that’s unfamiliar to a Wilmington palate.
Executive director of Full Belly, Daniel Ling, gave me a peek at some of the artwork that will be up for both silent and live auction throughout the night. Handcrafted and carved, with amazing detail from a rich brown wood, the culture of West Africa comes to life thanks to the donation of several tribal masks. Another surprise item includes a Rivini couture wedding dress. Guests will also have a chance to vie for original artwork by Wilmington’s own young art prodigy George Pocheptsov. His artwork has sold for thousands and has enchanted millions. Pocheptsov has been artistically gifted since he was merely 17 months old and sold his first painting at the age of three. He has been compared to the likes of Picasso and Chagall. His artwork is a testament to his vivid imagination and naturally developed talent. Other donations have been supplied from individuals and businesses all over the Wilmington area for attendees to bid on in the auctions.
The many inventions and creations that have been fabricated in the Full Belly workshop will be on display for guests to view and explore. Prototypes of these low-cost technologies, like the Universal Nut Sheller and the Rocking Water Pump, will give guests the chance to witness firsthand how these products continually invigorate communities worldwide. Alongside the demonstrations, live entertainment will be provided from Tanstrum. The band, also featured performers at UNCW’s Intercultural week, blends African music with the use of modern instruments.
Ling explained that the Full Belly Feast is their single greatest source of funds for the organization. Basically, the work that the they do is funded through grants, but the support from the public helps make ends meet. There isn’t a lot of funding for small organizations and Full Belly has relied heavily on volunteers from the Peace Corps. Ling also expressed how the annual fund-raiser is meant to spread awareness about the organization, with hopes of getting people involved. This type of awareness brings in more volunteers, which Fully Belly is more than happy to receive.
“If it weren’t for volunteers,” Ling says, “there would be no Full Belly.”