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Drew Barrymore Announces US$1 Million Donation on Oprah

Drew Helps 'Fill The Cup' For Thousands OfKenyan School Kids

CHICAGO, March 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Drew Barrymore, one of the world's most recognized film stars, today announced a personal donation of US$1 million on the Oprah Winfrey Show to help the World Food Programe (WFP) feed thousands of school children in Kenya.

"I have seen with my own eyes what a difference a simple cup of nutritious porridge can make in a child's life," said Drew Barrymore. "It helps them learn, stay healthy and sets them on track for a bright future. I urge everyone -- everywhere -- to help WFP 'Fill the Cup' for hungry children, and make hunger history."

This US$1 million donation kicks off WFP's challenge to America to help feed 10 million children for a year.

"We have a feed another 10 million hungry school children in Africa by Thanksgiving Day," said Josette Sheeran, WFP Executive Director who also appeared on Oprah's show. She explained that for just 25 US cents a day, WFP can provide a school meal which feeds bodies, minds and transforms children's lives.

"Just US$50 fills a child's cup for a year, and we call on everyone to click on and make a donation," said Sheeran.

Saying that WFP was "all action -- not talk", Barrymore, a WFP "Ambassador Against Hunger," has travelled to Kenya twice in two years to see first-hand the impact hunger has on poor children. She is an ardent advocate for WFP school meals which boost children's chances for health, education and a more promising future.

Sheeran thanked the actress for her generous personal donation to WFP, and paid tribute to her passion and commitment to changing the world for the better.

One of the schools Drew Barrymore has visited in Kenya is Stara, in Nairobi's sprawling slums where students say WFP lunches make a real difference.

"Often I come to school without anything to eat. A meal at school helps me because at home we sometimes don't have any food to eat. The learning is going well for me -- when I grow up, I want to be a doctor," said Caroline Okasire, a student at Stara.

As part of the "Fill the Cup" campaign, WFP is seeking US$3 billion -- just 25 US cents a day -- to feed 59 million hungry school children in developing countries worldwide for a year. People can donate by clicking on "Fill the Cup" at

Last year, WFP provided more than 20 million school children with a daily cup of porridge, rice or beans, in addition to giving many girls a monthly ration to take home to their families. Up to 70 percent of WFP's food used for school meals is purchased from farmers in the developing world.

Sheeran said that school feeding should become a permanent nutritional safety net for children, as it is in the United States and Japan. WFP's goal is to jump-start these programs, and then hand them over to local communities when they are able.

Background: As part of her trip to the United States to warn about rising food prices and their devastating impact on millions of hungry poor, WFP's Executive Director will meet today with commodity traders at the Chicago Board of Trade, plus civic and business leaders. This follows meetings last week with members of US Congress and young student leaders -- part of Universities Fighting World Hunger -- who gathered at George Washington University to discuss world hunger.

Rising food prices, increased energy costs, competition between biofuels and food, escalating demand from countries such as China and India, and more frequent droughts and floods are affecting millions of people -- hitting those on the poverty line hardest. A 40 percent rise in commodity prices alone since mid 2007 is drastically affecting WFP's budget and ability to Fill the Cup of school children worldwide.

WFP aims to feed 73 million people globally this year; the agency now estimates it needs at least US$500 million more than anticipated last year to meet its 2008 operational budget of US$3.4 billion. The half-billion dollar increase is solely due to the sharp hike in food and transport costs over the last few months.

SOURCE Friends of the World Food Program
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