Christina Aguilera and her husband Jordan Bratman recently traveled with the UN World Food Programme to villages in the Guatemalan highlands near Lake Atitlan, where up to 80 percent of the indigenous children are malnourished. Guatemala has the fourth highest child malnutrition rate in the world.
“I wanted to see with my own eyes what hunger means,” she said. “I don’t think I can ever forget these images. The people of WFP do such a great job helping hungry children and mothers. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be part of such a wonderful project and incredible team.”
WFP brings life-saving food assistance to some 350,000 people in Guatemala – mostly women and children. It works closely with the Guatemalan government to battle chronic hunger.
“WFP urgently needs donations to keep feeding some 150,000 women and undernourished children – I want to raise awareness and open people’s eyes so they can get the funds they need to keep on working,” said Aguilera.
Many of the children Aguilera saw were much shorter than normal for their age – a consequence of not getting enough healthy food at an early age.
“One of the biggest lessons I’m taking away from this trip is the importance of healthy food. If a child under two doesn’t get the nutrients they need, we can never fix the damage later on,” the singer said.
Aguilera is also raising awareness of the hunger issue by appearing in the World Hunger Relief campaign’s new global public service announcement and advertisement, made possible by KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, that will start airing at the end of September. The black and white PSA captures Aguilera, accompanied by a guitarist, attracting a crowd on a busy corner in Los Angeles as she sings Beautiful to raise money for hunger relief. Graphics illustrate that everyone can do something to help, “all it takes is a dollar and you, hope is in your hands.”
Aguilera will also appear in World Hunger Relief restaurant posters with the quote, “Together, we have the power to save lives and go from hunger to hope” and online efforts, including the campaign’s web site FromHungertoHope.com.
Global hunger has reached epic proportions this year – with more than 1 billion hungry people around the world – due to the convergence of the global economic slowdown; high food prices; increased competition for products that produce energy; severe droughts and floods due to climate change; and increasing demand from growing economies in Asia and South America.
“As a mother, I think it’s unacceptable that a child dies every six seconds somewhere around the world from hunger and I want to do something about it,” said Aguilera. “By lending my voice in the new PSA for World Hunger Relief, I hope to raise even more awareness about the issue and move millions of people from hunger to hope.”
“As a society, we should not tolerate that global hunger is worse than ever this year with more than 1 billion people going to bed hungry every day,” said David Novak, Chairman and CEO, Yum! Brands, Inc. “We are thankful for Christina’s passion to join us in the fight against hunger and help us raise attention to this critical issue and save millions of lives. We believe it is our privilege and responsibility to find a meaningful solution to this problem.”
Novak, the presidents from KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, other senior executives and franchise leaders traveled to El Salvador in August to see WFP’s relief efforts. Yum! is announcing that it will donate the first $1 million it raises this year to El Salvador.
WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organization fighting hunger worldwide. WFP is currently facing critical funding shortfalls which means it is being forced to reduce, and in some cases, cut food rations to the world’s hungry, making the World Hunger Relief campaign even more crucial this year.
“WFP knows how to reach those most in need and will do what it takes to get a cup of food to any kid in the world,” said WFP’s Executive Director, Josette Sheeran. “But without funding, we can’t reach these kids. It takes just 25 cents to fill a cup with food. The World Hunger Relief campaign helps fill the cup for tens of thousands of kids – and we’re so grateful for it.”
This year, Yum! plans to generate the equivalent of nearly $50 million in awareness of the hunger issue through a PSA, advertising, public relations, web-based communications and in-restaurant posters. The Company’s employees and franchisees will be volunteering their time around the globe at hunger relief agencies, food banks, soup kitchens and launching fundraisers.
World Hunger Relief kicks off its month-long campaign in the U.S. starting Sept. 24 (Long John Silver’s/A&W All-American Food), Sept. 27 (Pizza Hut), Sept. 28 (KFC) and Oct. 8 (Taco Bell). Every U.S. dollar raised will provide four meals for hungry children.
Since World Hunger Relief launched in 2007, more than 1 million of the Company’s employees, franchisees and their families have volunteered more than 9 million hours to aid hunger relief efforts in communities worldwide. The effort has raised $36 million for WFP and other hunger relief organizations and is helping to provide approximately 160 million meals and save the lives of about 4 million people in remote corners of the world.