WFP social networking site seeks to benefit from snacking impulses

by Julie Mollins | @jmollins | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Tuesday, 19 April 2011 11:05 GMT

* Any views expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

A social networking website created by WFP has raised enough money to feed more than 100,000 children, the U.N. agency says

By Julie Mollins

LONDON (AlertNet) - A new social networking website created by the World Food Programme to encourage the fight against world hunger has raised enough money in only a few weeks to feed more than 100,000 children, the United Nations agency said on Tuesday.

The online fundraising initiative set up to support school meal programmes allows potential contributors to find out how many children can be fed for the price of their favourite food.

Donors type the price of a food item into a feedback calculator to find out its equivalent value in meals and then pay for it with their credit card. 

A contribution of $5 can pay for a child’s school meals for one month.

"WeFeedback allows people to share food and activate their social networks, transforming something as simple as a cup of coffee or a sandwich into funds that can change the lives of hungry children forever," Nancy Roman, a WFP communications director said.

WFP distributes food to more than 90 million people a year – including 58 million children. 

School meals go to an average of 22 million children each year in 60 countries, according to WFP.  Children only get meals if they go to school regularly. In many programmes, attendance also earns a take-home ration that will help sustain the child’s family as well.

Organisers say that WeFeedback participants in the United States are "feeding back" the most sushi, while Montenegro participants are feeding back the most pizza. Social networkers on the site have also fed back glasses of wine, cappuccinos and Mexican burritos.

Celebrity WFP hunger ambassadors helping to give the project a boost include singer Christina Aguilera, Brazilian footballer Kaka and actor Drew Barrymore.

The biggest contributor in North America is Canadian journalist and television star George Stroumboulopoulos.

"As WeFeedback continues to grow in popularity, we have the real opportunity to reach millions of children with the right food and nutrition they need to grow and develop their full physical and intellectual potential," Roman said.

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