Actress Drew Barrymore donates $1 million to UN anti-hunger programme

3 March 2008 – The United States actress Drew Barrymore today announced that she would donate $1 million to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), where she is an Ambassador Against Hunger, to help the agency feed thousands of Kenyan schoolchildren.

The personal donation kicks off WFP’s ‘Fill the Cup’ challenge to the US to raise enough funds to help feed 59 million children around the world for a year.

Speaking on the Oprah Winfrey Show on US television, where she announced the donation, Ms. Barrymore said she had witnessed first-hand the impact hunger has on poor children during two visits to Kenya in the past two years.

“I have seen with my own eyes what a difference a simple cup of nutritious porridge can make in a child’s life,” she said. “It helps them learn, stay healthy and sets them on track for a bright future.”

WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran thanked Ms. Barrymore for her donation, and urged others in the United States to contribute to the Fill the Cup campaign.

Ms. Sheeran noted that for only 25 cents a day, WFP can provide an entire school meal to a child in a developing country.

“Just $50 fills a child’s cup for a year, and we call on everyone to click on and make a donation,” she said.

The agency is seeking $3 billion in total so that it can feed 59 million hungry schoolchildren around the globe for the next year, often with porridge, rice or beans. Up to 70 per cent of the food used for school meals is bought from farmers in poor nations.

Today Ms. Sheeran will also meet with commodity traders at the Chicago Board of Trade and civic and business leaders in the US city to discuss the fight against hunger and the impact of rising food prices on the world’s poor.

WFP is trying to jump-start school feeding programmes in many developing countries so that local communities can then run them once they have the capacity.

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