KFC announced that to raise awareness for World Hunger Relief efforts, it shut the doors of its two most historic locations: Colonel Sanders’ first restaurant in Corbin, Kentucky, and the original KFC franchise in Salt Lake City. To highlight the chain’s national campaign to collect donations for the worldwide cause, it converted the restaurants into “World Hunger Relief Kitchens,” serving free meals to in-need residents from local shelters.

Only a cause as important as fighting world hunger could inspire the owners of KFC’s two most famous restaurants to shut their doors. The Corbin restaurant, operated by JRN Inc., has operated since 1940, and the Salt Lake City location, operated by Harman Management Corp., has been serving customers since 1952.

There are approximately 1 billion hungry people around the world today. Hunger and malnutrition are the No. 1 risk to health worldwide—greater than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. Among the key causes of hunger are natural disasters, conflict, poverty, poor agricultural infrastructure, and over-exploitation of the environment. Recently, financial and economic crises have pushed more people into hunger.

“KFC feeds people every day, but closing our two most historic locations for the first time ever demonstrates our ongoing commitment to helping raise money and awareness for world hunger,” says John Cywinski, chief marketing and food innovation officer for KFC. “At KFC, we’re passionate about inspiring others to help the millions of hungry people around the world today.”

At Corbin on Monday and Salt Lake City today, paying customers were asked to postpone their lunches so the staffs could provide free meals to the needy. Customer feedback at Corbin was positive, with many people expressing support for the cause and even making donations to help in the fight against world hunger.

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