Fast food chains back UN anti-hunger program for children in Mindanao's conflict-affected areas

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/06 December) — Fill your hunger and ease a child’s empty stomach this holiday season.

Eating at Pizza Hut and Taco Bell branches in the country will help feed the children affected by the conflict in Southwestern Mindanao, as part of the proceeds will go to the hunger relief program of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

The fast food chains and WFP launched late last week their fourth annual World Hunger Relief campaign in the Philippines, focusing on the children in areas affected by the conflict between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

“World Hunger Relief is an innovative global campaign which allows the public and private sectors to come together and address one of the most pressing issues of our time – the silent crisis of world hunger,” said Stephen Anderson, WFP Philippines country director.

In a statement, WFP Philippines said that over 160 restaurants in the country will raise funds for WFP’s Emergency School Feeding program, which provides nutritious meals to 76,000 elementary school students in conflict-affected areas of Mindanao.

Until the end of the year, for every order of the Pizza Hut-WFP Bundle Feast, Pizza Hut restaurants will give 10 pesos to the World Hunger Relief campaign. In addition, a customer donating 40 pesos will receive a Christmas card signed by Diether Ocampo.

Taco Bell, a subsidiary of US-based Yum! Brands Inc., will likewise donate 10 pesos for every Nachos Bellgrande Combo Meal purchase. All proceeds will go to WFP and will be directly channeled to providing nutritious school meals, costing 10 pesos per child per day.

In close collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Education, WFP implements the Emergency School Feeding program which supports the process of bringing children back to school after prolonged displacement caused by the most recent upsurge in conflict.

More importantly, it helps restore a sense of normalcy in their lives and that of their families, Anderson said.

The official said they are grateful to Pizza Hut and Taco Bell for their consistently strong and generous support in helping alleviate hunger in the country.

“Their timely advocacy has greatly boosted WFP efforts, not only by raising awareness about hunger, but also in fighting hunger directly by providing nutritious meals to vulnerable children in conflict-affected areas of Central Mindanao,” Anderson said.

Making nutritious meals available in schools helps ensure that these kids complete their basic education which gives them their best fighting chance in overcoming poverty and hunger, he added.

The World Hunger Relief campaign, first launched in 2007, is the world’s largest private sector effort on the issue of hunger.

In the past three years, YUM! Brands has raised nearly US$60 million for WFP and other hunger relief agencies globally, according to the statement.

To date, the campaign spans 110 countries and has mobilized 37,000 restaurants and over one million employees to volunteer, raise hunger awareness and funds.

Multi-Grammy Award winner, pop superstar and WFP Ambassador Against Hunger Christina Aguilera is the global spokesperson for World Hunger Relief campaign. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)