World Food Day is on October 16 and throughout the month, WFP’s partner companies are hosting a raft of events, rallying employees and clients to our common cause: ending hunger. Donate a meal, buy a cookbook, watch hunger stop. The calls to action are being delivered on T-shirts, mobile phone applications and New York billboards. Through cookbook sales in the Netherlands, a food expo in the Philippines and an online checkout drive in Dubai.
“These companies are embracing the issue of hunger and making it their own,” says Jay Aldous, WFP’s Director of Private Sector Partnerships. “They want their employees and customers to really engage. Their message: if we all do our part, we can achieve a lot.”
Here are just a few examples of how the private sector – one of WFP’s top 10 donors in recent years – is taking on hunger:
Celebrated fashion designer Michael Kors marks World Food Day by notching up his #WatchHungerStop campaign on behalf of WFP’s school feeding programme. Customers at six Michael Kors stores worldwide will be snapped sporting free T-shirts with the slogan, with their photos posted on social media site Instagram and Times Square billboards.
And Google is magnifying #WatchHungerStop’s reach by showcasing it exclusively on its One Today app on World Food Day – and by promoting the campaign across many of its channels. Google is also boosting the impact of each response, by contributing $1 for every dollar donated, up to $25,000.
In Dubai, daily deals website Cobone is launching a fundraising appeal for WFP’s response to the Syria crisis. The campaign coincides both with World Food Day and the Islamic feast of Eid Al Adha. “We are keen to use our outreach and online community to help the many families affected by the conflict in Syria,” says Vikram Ahuja, Cobone’s Director of Product and Partnerships. MasterCard employees are also raising funds for WFP’s Syria operations.
In Taguig city near Manila, World Food Day is being marked with innovative cuisine served at the popular Mercato Centrale market. It’s a food fair with a cause – proceeds will go to WFP’s school feeding programme in the Philippines. Spearheaded by WFP and Unilever, the food expo is just part of the company’s larger campaign for school feeding. Unilever will also match every Facebook “like,” with the goal of reaching one million school meals – or €200,000 – and encourage employees to donate in staff restaurants and canteens.
Netherlands-based PostNL is publishing the 7th edition of “Master Chefs for Home Chefs,” showcasing recipes contributed by 52 celebrity chefs. As with previous editions, sales proceeds go to WFP’s school feeding in Malawi, where PostNL has developed deep ties. Those meals include hearty porridge for Gladys Bomu’s two children in southern Malawi. Besides knowing they will eat at school, says Bomu, whose story is featured in the cookbook, at the end of the day students will “have learnt as well.”
For Yum! Brands, World Food Day folds into the company’s latest World Hunger Relief campaign, burnished with a public service announcement from WFP Ambassador Christina Aguilera. The initiative – the largest hunger relief effort in the private sector – aims to raise more than US$36 million for WFP and other hunger relief organizations this year. Yum is also encouraging employees to donate at least a dollar to WFP’s operations.