SOURCE: United Nations¿ World Food Programme

June 07, 2005 10:16 ET

Record Number Expected to Join Global Hunger Walk in the USA

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- June 7, 2005 -- Celebrities and sports stars, including model Lauren Bush and NBA powerhouse Dikembe Mutombo, will join ordinary Americans on June 12th at 10 a.m., in the five kilometer (3.1 miles) Walk the World event to raise awareness of hunger.

Already, walkers in more than 40 cities across the USA are expected to participate and join with tens of thousands of others in this global event. The walk will take place in the course of a 24-hour period in each of the world's 24 time zones.

As of now, more than 200,000 people in over 90 countries are expected to participate. These include 100,000 school children in the African nation of Malawi, as well as many others in war-torn nations like Sudan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

"This will be a unique opportunity for ordinary Americans to symbolically join with those in poor countries to focus urgent attention on world hunger," said Judy Cheng-Hopkins, director of the World Food Program (WFP)'s New York office.

"America has always played a leadership role in helping the world's poor and now more than ever it is important it is seen at the forefront of the fight against hunger."

TNT, the global provider of express, mail and logistics services, initiated Walk the World to raise funds for the WFP two years ago. Funds raised by Walk the World will go to WFP's school feeding activities which on average only cost 19 cents per meal and have proven critical to the physical and mental development of hungry children worldwide. Last year, WFP, the world's largest humanitarian agency fed over 80 million of the world's hungriest people including 16 million school children.

"Currently more than 800 million people know what it is like to go to bed hungry and 300 million are children," said Curtis Watson, President, TNT Express, Americas. "We can now longer continue to pretend that worldwide hunger is not an issue."

"The fact is lack of food is only too real to the 25,000 people who die every day of hunger and hunger-related illnesses. By joining together and walking on June 12, we can start taking action."

This year's walk promises to be the biggest so far and is expected to again generate widespread coverage in the international media. A few days prior to the walk details will be announced for satellite uplink of images so television stations can receive timely material.

"The humanitarian efforts of WFP are dependant on recognition from the public. This in turn depends on well-executed communications supporting the campaign and we are immensely thankful for the support and devotion we are receiving from the member agencies of Eurocom Worldwide. This is a generous contribution from which WFP will benefit enormously," said Arlene Mitchell "Fight Hunger: Walk the World" director.

"Eurocom Worldwide and its US member agency, Ripple Effect Communications have built considerable skill and expertise in Public Relations and media campaigns across multiple countries on a shoe-string budget, which we are happy to put to good use for WFP. We are proud that what we do can be used to promote a cause as noble as fighting world hunger," said Eurocom Worldwide Network Director, Mads Christensen.

The collaboration was initiated in January 2005 and is being managed by the WFP headquarters in Rome, Italy, in cooperation with the involved Eurocom Worldwide member agencies.

Among the planned activities on June 12th, the mayor of Rome will lead a march around the ancient Coliseum in Italy, marchers will walk from downtown Cairo to the pyramids in Egypt, participants will once again walk on the Great Wall of China, and walkers will gather at the Irish Hunger Memorial before walking up the west side of Manhattan until 42nd Street in New York.

Among US cities where walks will be held are Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Denver, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. For more information on participating cities and registration please visit www.fighthunger.org or contact:

Trevor Rowe, WFP/New York, Tel. +1-212-963-5196, Mob. +1-646-824-1112, rowe@un.org

Margaret Carrington, WFP/New York, Tel +1 917-367-5431, carringtonm@un.org

Isabelle Weisman, TNT/ New York, Tel +1 718-472-7717 isabelle.weisman@tnt.com

About United Nations' World Food Programme

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: each year, we give food to an average of 90 million poor people to meet their nutritional needs, including 56 million hungry children, in at least 80 of the world's poorest countries. WFP -- We Feed People. WFP Global School Feeding Campaign -- For just 19 US cents a day, you can help WFP give children in poor countries a healthy meal at school -- a gift of hope for a brighter future. Visit our website: www.wfp.org

About Eurocom Worldwide

Eurocom Worldwide is a collaboration between independent, privately owned communications agencies offering unrivalled expertise in international communications campaigns executed by local people. Eurocom Worldwide have 29 member agencies along with six additional affiliates and linked agencies, comprising over 1,100 communications specialists and consultants in 60 national capitals and centers of commerce around the globe. For more information, visit www.eurocompr.com or www.eurocomworldwide.com.

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