Saturday, March 26, 2011

WFP provides meals in conflict-affecter areas in Lanao with support from Pizza Hut and Taco Bell

LANAO DEL NORTE, PHILIPPINES – “Karon pa jud ko nabusog, Ma’am!” (This is my first time to feel full, Ma’am!), replied Shiela Mae Gascon, a grade three student at Tugar Elementary School, to school principal Milagros Basang’s question as to why she was seemingly clutching her stomach in pain.

After the World Food Programme (WFP) had organized a nutritious hot meal at the Tugar Elementary School in Kauswagan Municipality, Basang approached nine-year old Gascon when she saw the pupil rubbing her stomach.

“I asked her if she was all right and she replied that her stomach was aching. When I probed further why she was in pain, I was delighted to hear that it was because she was full,” says Basang with a beaming smile.

Tugar Elementary School is just one of the 300 WFP-assisted schools in the conflict-affected provinces of Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao where, through the agency’s Emergency School Feeding programme, WFP provides meals to 80,000 elementary school children.

Recognizing the importance of school meals in helping to ensure poor children get an education, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell collected more than 4.5 million pesos through their World Hunger Relief campaign to support WFP’s emergency school feeding programme in Mindanao.

“WFP is supporting the process of bringing children back to school after a long period of displacement due to conflict. By ensuring that nutritious hot meals are made available in schools, these children are able to complete their basic education. The Pizza Hut family is happy to do what we can to help,” said Lars Peterson, Chief Operating Officer of Pizza Hut, Inc., during his first visit to one of the WFP-assisted schools in Lanao del Norte.

“The World Food Programme is very grateful to Pizza Hut and Taco Bell for their strong and consistent partnership and commitment that has greatly sustained WFP efforts in providing school meals to vulnerable children in Central Mindanao. This programme enables them to complete their basic education, which is one of the first steps in overcoming poverty and hunger,” said Stephen Anderson, WFP Philippines Country Director and Representative.

"World Hunger Relief is an innovative global campaign which allows the public and private sectors to come together and address one of the most pressing issues of our time – the silent crisis of world hunger,” Anderson added.

Through the 60-day World Hunger Relief fundraising campaign, over 165 Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants received donations from customers in different ways. Pizza Hut customers who donated P40 received a Christmas card autographed by the restaurant’s celebrity endorser and World Hunger Relief volunteer Diether Ocampo. Many other generous customers filled the WFP collection boxes on store counters nationwide.

WFP implements its school feeding programmes in collaboration with its cooperating partner on the ground, the international NGO Community Family Services International (CFSI), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Education (DepEd).

The World Hunger Relief campaign, first launched in 2007, is the world’s largest private sector fundraising effort on the issue of hunger. In the past three years, YUM! Brands has raised nearly US$60 million for WFP and other hunger relief agencies globally.
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