By NICKIE WANG/ Manila Standard Today
While you are reading this article, somewhere in the world, two or three children might be dying or had just died.
Based on the statistic of World Food Program, 18,000 children die each day because of starvation. That is one child after every five seconds.
In an effort to combat hunger, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, both operated by Philippine Pizza Inc., donated over P1 million to the WFP on Jan. 29 in a ceremony held at Gateway Mall, Araneta Center.
The amount was for the benefit of young children who are pitted in the war-stricken area of Mindanao. The event was graced by Philippine Pizza Inc. chief operating officer Lars Peterson, WFP country director and representative Stephen Anderson, and Social Welfare Department Assistant Secretary Theresa Alano.
“We have been involved in this [program] for a couple of years now, our commitment is, we want this campaign to be the primary vehicle for our costumers, employees, and partners to give back in a way that will benefit people here in the Philippines,” Peterson enthused.
He furthered that the reason why Philippine Pizza Inc. is excited about the program is that unlike some other worldwide programs where the money collected is distributed to many countries, the campaign will benefit those who are in need here in the Philippines.
In coordination with Yum Brands, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell teamed up with United Nations World Food Programme, the world’s leading humanitarian hunger relief organization, to raise awareness and funds to help eradicate hunger. In a period of two months (from November to December), Pizza Hut and Taco Bell had collected an amount of P1.2 million through their 700 coin banks located inside and outside of 150 Pizza Hut and Taco Bell food outlets.
“Our commitment is to continue our partnership with the World Food Programme for many years to come. Our goal, just like the way we try to increase our sales every year, we will to try to increase our donation as well,” Peterson affirmed.
KC Concepcion, the face of the campaign against hunger in the country, was no show at the event. Nonetheless, the young actress who joined the campaign as the National Ambassador against Hunger for WFP-Philippines sent a text message through Anderson that was read before the press.
Her message stated that she wanted to express her sincerest appreciation on behalf of the children and families supported by WFP’s Food-for-Education activities that provide nutritious support during challenging times of conflict in Mindanao. The message also conveyed her apology for not being personally present to grace the momentous event. KC was said to be busy with her tight work schedule for her forthcoming movie.
WFP will use the donation to implement regular school-feeding activities that provide both a daily hot meal and a take- home family ration to 71,000 pupils in 427 schools in the provinces of Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato.
“We are concentrating in Mindanao. We have always indicated that we could help the government to extend the program in a national setting. But for now, we don’t want to stretch ourselves so we could have a focus,” Anderson explained why WFP specifically indicated the people in Mindanao as the recipients of the donation.
According to Anderson the program in partnership with the Yum Brand started two years ago with a goal to increase awareness and raise critically needed fund to help feed poor children. In Mindanao alone, 60 percent of households have very poor access to food, while 30 percent take life-threatening risks to meet their daily food needs.
Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger is one of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.