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Friends of the World Food Program is a non-profit organization that seeks to raise awareness about global hunger.

Interview with Karen Sendelback of the Friends of the World Food Program

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) is the largest humanitarian aid organization in the world. WFP works all over the globe to fight hunger, including crisis areas such as Darfur, Kenya, and Afghanistan. The Friends of the World Food Program, based in Washington, D.C., is a non-profit organization that seeks to raise awareness about global hunger and build support for WFP and its operations.

There are 854 million people worldwide who suffer from hunger.

Here is the text of an interview with Karen Sendelback, President and CEO of the Friends of the World Food Program.

What are some of the ways your organization is trying to increase awareness of global hunger and support WFP's operations?

Our organization serves WFP in three main ways. First, we raise money to support WFP operations throughout the developing world. From an elementary school bake sale to major corporate partnerships, we are there to educate and inform U.S. donors about what impact their contributions are having on 854 million chronically hungry poor. Second, we raise awareness across the United States and recruit individuals who are interested in helping WFP. By showing advocates how to communicate with their Members of Congress, helping organize informational events, and providing education on the basics on how to contact local newspapers, we mobilize Americans who are dedicated to ending hunger and poverty. Third, we reach out to the United States Congress, government officials, and other like-minded nonprofit organizations to educate them on the crucial role they play in eradicating poverty and hunger.

We have a solid plan of action and dedicated, hardworking staff; I am proud to report that we will continue to grow in effectiveness and efficiency in 2008!

How does Friends of the World Food Program support WFP's humanitarian operations in Darfur?

Since Darfur is one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, we have made a more targeted effort. We have had many people organize fundraising events to raise money specifically for the victims in Darfur. This is especially vital because nearly three million refugees rely on WFP for food supplies. In addition, we have set up separate pages on our website, which provide information about the ongoing crisis and what Americans can do to help.

You can learn more on their website.

There is ongoing controversy in the Congress about the fate of the McGovern-Dole legislation that provides school lunches to children in impoverished countries. The Senate and the House differ on the funding strategy for McGovern-Dole. How do you think they will settle this difference in the final version of the Farm Bill?

Friends of the World Food Program has been working hard for the past year with our coalition partners and grassroots network to educate Members of Congress on the positive impact the McGovern-Dole program has had on some of the poorest children in the world and on the importance of increasing funding for the Program in the Farm Bill. Our coalition met recently to work out a strategy for targeting key members of the Farm Bill Conference Committee in the weeks ahead. Although we cannot be certain as to what Congress will ultimately do, we know that support for this program among Members of Congress is high and we are confident that our efforts during the past year have made the McGovern-Dole Program a priority for Congressional leaders and many members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees as we head into final approval of the Farm Bill.

Talk about some of the resources on your website for learning about global hunger issues.

Our main page is the best place to go to for the latest developments. We update it at least once a week to reflect WFP’s most recent activities in the field. There are also several sections of our website that show the latest hunger facts and information on WFP’s humanitarian relief activities in developing countries. Our latest Annual Report (PDF) also lists details on hunger and information on WFP. In addition, our monthly newsletter also provides information on global hunger issues. You can sign up to receive it online.

What are some of the ways individuals or groups can work with the Friends of the World Food Program to fight global hunger?

There are many ways to help. People can organize a fundraiser to support WFP operations. Americans who wish to learn more about becoming advocates can contact our Outreach department for more information. Other ways to help include writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, contacting Congress, downloading a banner to post on your website and/or blog, etc. To find out more how you can help visit our website. You can also contact us at info@friendsofwfp.org or 202-530-1694.

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.

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