With a hunger crisis engulfing nearly one billion people worldwide, leaders need to step up. Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints is doing just that.
Brees has been named an ambassador for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the largest food aid organization. WFP, which fights hunger in over 70 countries, is a UN agency that depends entirely on voluntary donations.
Bettina Luescher of WFP says, “We are thrilled to welcome Drew Brees to join WFP’s team as our US National Ambassador Against Hunger. The very same qualities that have brought him success, both on and off the football field, will make him an incredibly powerful and effective advocate for the hungry poor.”
Brees, the 2010 Super Bowl MVP, is urging support for famine relief in the Horn of Africa.
Severe drought, coupled with conflict, has caused massive food shortages in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and other parts of East Africa. WFP is the lead agency in fighting the famine which has put over 13 million people at risk of starvation. Children are suffering from severe malnutrition and thousands have already perished. Many can still be saved if relief efforts are supported.
Brees’ advocacy will be critical in keeping focus on the crisis which will extend for many more months until harvests can improve.
Brees says, “Right now, millions of people are at risk of starvation in the Horn of Africa. As the father of two, it’s hard for me to imagine what it must be like for parents to watch helpless as their children suffer.”
WFP is currently short over $200 million for its East Africa relief mission. At the same time, severe food shortages are also being reported in Afghanistan, Sudan, and many other corners of the globe. WFP faces funding shortages in these areas as well and has been forced to scale back child feeding programs.
Global hunger issues struggle to get the media spotlight. Even the famine in East Africa, which was one of the worst humanitarian tragedies in decades, failed to attract a great deal of media attention when the story broke this summer.
Food ambassadors like Drew Brees are desperately needed right now to spread the word, and take the lead in sounding the alarm for this massive hunger crisis.
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