9 May 2007 The American actress Drew Barrymore was named today as an Ambassador Against Hunger for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and charged with the task of using her celebrity as a film star to advocate for school feeding projects in some of the world’s poorest countries.
Ms. Barrymore, 32, becomes the latest Ambassador for the WFP, joining Kenyan world marathon record-holder Paul Tergat, himself a former recipient of school feeding programmes, among others. Last year WFP fed 19.4 million children across 71 countries through such projects.
“I can’t think of any issue that is more important than working to see that no schoolchild in this world goes hungry,” Ms. Barrymore said after today’s announcement in Washington. The actress recently visited WFP-supported school feeding projects in Kenya.
“Feeding a child at school is such a simple thing – but it works miracles,” she said. “I’ve seen it with my own eyes,” adding that school feeding schemes have a proven record of boosting enrolment rates and academic performance.
Ms. Barrymore, Mr. Tergat and senior WFP officials have been in Washington this week to raise awareness about school feeding programmes and to advocate for legislation that would expand and regularize United States funding for such activities.
Currently WFP estimates that more than 112 million school-aged children around the world are undernourished and live in poor nations.
WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran welcomed the announcement of Ms. Barrymore, who has been involved in the Artists for the UN initiative since 2004, as an Ambassador for the Programme.
“Her passion and commitment to changing the world for the better – and of course the respect and admiration she commands – will make her a wonderful champion for school feeding,” Ms. Sheeran said.