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Help by giving just a few cents (or just a whole lot more)

Saturday Night Live took on poverty porn and charity campaigns this month. The result is a satirical home run.

Bill Hader impersonates the videos produced by Christian Children’s Fund (now called ChildFund) featuring a bearded white man standing next to children living in abject poverty. Images of misery and heartbreaking music were used to guilt people into the organization’s child sponsorship program.

Held as an example of objectifying people living in poverty, the videos are now the subject for satire. This time around, the host asks for just $0.39 a day. The poor men shown tell him that he should be asking for more shouting, “Start higher!”

Challenges continue as the community members start asking how their lives will be saved with only $0.39. The best line comes toward the end when Hader’s character is heckled for probably not knowing the name of the country where he is shooting the commercial. Everyone is outraged when he finally says, “Africa?”

The best part is probably the most subtle, and I won’t give it away. Just look closely at one of the T-shirts early on in the skit to see a slight dig at a certain Seattle-based charity that gives away the T-shirts of the losing team from a major U.S. sports event.

For those who don’t remember or never saw the Christian Children’s Fund commercials, here is one:


About Author

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is a New Hampshire-based reporter for Humanosphere. Before joining Humanosphere, Tom founded and edited the aid blog A View From the Cave. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, GlobalPost and Christian Science Monitor. He tweets at @viewfromthecave. Contact him at tmurphy[at]