yum-brands.jpgLunches for over 200 million hungry schoolchildren in the developing world will be delivered, thanks to a commitment of $80 million by leading restaurant company YUM! Brands.

The pledge to the UN World Food Program was made during the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York, which coincides with the UN high-level event on the Millennium Development Goals– the eight targets for slashing poverty, hunger, illiteracy and other socio-economic ills by 2015.

Josette Sheeran, the chief of YUM! Brands, the parent firm of TACO Bell, Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken, said, “This incredible expression of generosity shows what can be done when the private sector joins with a major humanitarian agency to help meet the needs of some of the world’s most vulnerable children.”

Set up in 2005 by former United States president Bill Clinton, the CGI – rather than giving away money – creates an opportunity for people with ideas to connect with people with resources. Its members have made commitments designed to, among others, reduce poverty and hunger, work toward education for all and combat disease.

WFP has made a commitment to provide meals for an additional one million children for an entire academic year. Daily meals offer an enormous incentive for poor families in the developing world to send their children to school and commonly lead to drastically improved attendance rates.

The push comes as part of a multi-pronged effort by WFP to help nations manage the impact of high food prices that have driven millions more into hunger and poverty.  

President Clinton has also announced a partnership with WFP to combat intestinal worm infections among children, a huge and debilitating health problem in developing countries.  WFP hopes to reach more than 2 million schoolchildren a year with de-worming tablets.

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