Today on Blogcritics
Home » Culture and Society » Movie Industry Can Help End World Hunger

Movie Industry Can Help End World Hunger

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Earlier this year former senator Chris Dodd, chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, shared some great news about the movie industry. Dodd said, “Over the past five years, North American box office revenues are up six percent. This year has already begun with a tremendous start: as of April 19 – the box office was up 17 percent over the same period last year.”

The film industry is having great success. With that comes an opportunity to use its power to fight one of the greatest global threats: hunger and malnutrition. In fact, that is what the motion picture industry did when it was just getting started in the early 1900s.

During World War I (1914-1918) millions of people suffered from hunger as food supplies and farmlands were destroyed. American relief efforts, led by Herbert Hoover and many charities, came to the rescue.

Even after the fighting stopped hunger continued. Reconstruction from the war was a big enough task. The European nations were not yet able to produce enough food to sustain themselves. Hoover and other leaders had to find a way to fund aid for the hungry overseas.

 


American Relief Administration Food Distribution, Finland in 1919 (photo courtesy of Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum)

 

The film industry did not sit idle. They took action. Theatres around the country hosted a special Sunday matinee on January 29, 1921 with proceeds going toward European relief. Motion picture actors made appearances encouraging people to attend the event. There was even a contest to see which theatre could collect the most donations.

Hoover’s memoir said the Motion Picture Campaign raised $169,000 to help feed Europe. This fundraising event coincided with a series of Invisible Guest Dinners that also raised funds. The invisible guest represented one of the hungry children in war-torn Europe.

This year the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and Feeding America teamed up with the Hunger Games film to raise awareness of the world’s nearly one billion hungry people. Rene McGuffin, senior WFP spokesperson, said, “The campaign was particularly successful in terms of raising awareness about hunger among the many fans and the general public. The campaign site, which included a public service announcement featuring the stars of the film, along with an interactive hunger quiz and several online contests, proved to be an effective tool for community engagement.”

 


The Hunger Games film recently teamed up with the World Food Programme and Feeding America. (photo courtesy of the United Nations)

 

In fact the campaign and film inspired some creative fundraising by schoolchildren, including this story on the WFP site. The Hunger Games film also inspired some canned good drives. The more of this kind of social action, the better.

At the time of World War I relief there was a great hope for peace, and for an end to both war and hunger. Those dreams have not been realized, at least not yet. It’s up to the current generation to keep up the struggle to achieve those goals. The film industry can be one of the leaders.

Powered by

About William Lambers

William Lambers is the author of several books including Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World. This book features over 50 interviews with officials from the UN World Food Programme and other charities discussing school feeding programs that fight child hunger. He is also the author of Nuclear Weapons, The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Open Skies for Peace, The Spirit of the Marshall Plan: Taking Action Against World Hunger, School Lunches for Kids Around the World, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, From War to Peace and the Battle of Britain. He is also a writer for the History News Service. His articles have been published by newspapers including the Cincinnati Enquirer, Des Moines Register, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Buffalo News, San Diego Union Tribune, the Providence Journal, Free Lance-Star (VA), the Bakersfield Californian, the Washington Post, Miami Herald (FL), Chicago Sun-Times, the Patriot Ledger (MA), Charleston Sunday Gazette Mail (WV), the Cincinnati Post, Salt Lake Tribune (UT), North Adams Transcript (MA), Wichita Eagle (KS), Monterey Herald (CA), Athens Banner-Herald (GA) and the Duluth News Journal. His articles also appear on History News Network (HNN) and Think Africa Press. Mr. Lambers is a graduate of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Ohio with degrees in Liberal Arts (BA) and Organizational Leadership (MS). He is also a member of the Feeding America Blogger Council.