More than 17 million children in the U.S. receive free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch at their local public schools; as schools close for the summer, these children lose access to those programs. In response, Microsoft and Feeding America are joining forces to fight hunger in the United States through the “Browser for the Better” campaign.

For every completed download of Internet Explorer 8, Microsoft’s Browser for the Better campaign will donate the financial equivalent of eight meals to Feeding America’s network of 206 local food banks, which supplies food to more than 25 million Americans each year.

Spearheading the campaign is a series of viral videos starring television star Dean Cain and directed by comedian Bobcat Goldthwait.

“This summer, millions of families throughout the U.S. are living on the brink of hunger. Demand for food is higher than it has been in decades. The Browser for the Better campaign is both raising awareness of hunger and giving people an easy opportunity to help their neighbors at no cost to them. It’s a win-win arrangement for Microsoft, Feeding America and people all across the country,” said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization.

The Browser for the Better campaign kicked off yesterday at New York City’s Time Warner Center and San Francisco’s Justin Herman Plaza. Artists at each location used food cans to sculpt the likenesses of the Empire State Building and Golden Gate Bridge, respectively. The cans of food will be donated to the Food Bank For New York City, City Harvest in New York, and the San Francisco Food Bank, all members of Feeding America.

“Our customers have told us they want to have an impact in the lives of their friends and neighbors,” said Amy Barzdukas, senior director for Internet Explorer at Microsoft. “The Browser for the Better campaign is all about making it easy for people to make a real difference. Not only are they contributing to their community, they’re getting a more secure, modern browser designed for the way people browse the Internet today.”

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