Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM), parent of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, today launched the world’s largest hunger relief effort in an attempt to help stop world hunger. Called “World Hunger Relief Week,” the program supports the United Nations World Food Programme, the frontline agency in the fight against global hunger. During October 14-20, 35,000 company and franchised restaurants located in 112 countries will be participating in some way, including KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Long John Silver’s and A&W All-American Food.

More than 850 million people know what it is like to go to bed hungry in all corners of the globe. More people die from hunger each year than from war, tuberculosis and AIDS combined. In fact, every five seconds, a child somewhere dies from hunger.

The company partnered with the U.N. World Food Programme, the world’s leading humanitarian agency feeding 90 million poor people, including 58 million hungry children, in 80 of the world’s poorest communities.

Yum! hopes to raise awareness of the hunger problem, mobilize nearly 1,000,000 employees across its company and franchise system to volunteer their efforts, and raise funds from the more than 125 million customers that visit its restaurants each week. Yum! Brands Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, David C. Novak, will lead a massive volunteerism movement by dedicating volunteer service at a food bank in Louisville, Kentucky. All other above restaurant leaders are being given a day of community service during the week to volunteer their time, and restaurant employees are encouraged to hold fund raising drives and food collections as well.

The Yum! Foundation also will be donating to the cause by covering the WFP’s low administrative fee so that all funds collected from customers and employees will go directly toward purchasing a nutritious school meal or food for the world’s hungry. It costs the WFP just $.19 per day on average to feed a hungry child a nutritious school lunch meal. With funds raised, the company hopes to save hundreds of thousands of people from starvation.

During World Hunger Relief Week, Yum! plans to generate the equivalent of nearly
$50 million worth of awareness through television and print advertising, public service announcements, public relations, web-based communications and in-restaurant posters and signage. The integrated marketing materials will be available in English and translated into nine different languages, including English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese, German, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese.

“World hunger is a problem of epic proportions, and unfortunately it is increasing each day. As the world’s largest restaurant company, we believe it is our privilege and responsibility to use our clout and make a difference in the lives of others less fortunate who are starving around the globe,” said David C. Novak, Yum! Brands Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Our World Hunger Relief efforts will continue year after year. Our goal is to create a global movement to help stop the dying, and start the living. We believe we can truly make a difference in the lives of others by helping them move from hunger to hope.”

Yum! and its brands have been committed to fighting hunger for more than a decade by donating $50 million of prepared food annually to the underprivileged in the United States. The company also has been the primary sponsor of the Dare To Care Food Bank based in Louisville, Kentucky for seven years. Its employees donate thousands of hours each year to the food bank. The company is now expanding these efforts on a global scale through the creation of World Hunger Relief Week. The initiative coincides with the company’s 10th anniversary as a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. It was spun-off from PepsiCo in October, 1997.

World Hunger Relief Week addresses the harsh reality that there are 850 million people suffering from hunger every day. The situation has become worse than ever due to the convergence of: rising commodities and higher global food prices; increased competition for products that produce energy; severe droughts and flood due to climate change; a surge in conflict and wars as well as a growing population. At the rate things are going, food prices are expected to jump 35% over the next two years, thereby decreasing the number of people fed.

“This campaign will raise awareness among tens of millions of people around the world,” said Josette Sheeran, executive director of the World Food Programme, who added that the world’s largest humanitarian organization will use any funds raised to fund its greatest needs. “With demographic trends, climate change and soaring commodity prices — the challenges of feeding the hungry are increasing,” she said, adding that innovative approaches to public awareness and fundraising are critical.

The efforts of Yum! and its five brands are making it possible for funds to go directly to feeding people in WFP’s areas of greatest need – such as expanding school feeding programs to serve more children and families; providing essential food assistance to new mothers and their infants and increasing school attendance among girls by providing take-home food rations.

The company is leveraging the power of the internet to reach millions of people through the www.fromhungertohope.com website and other on-line activity. The interactive web site includes information about hunger, the WFP, how to donate to World Hunger Relief Week, updates on WFP outreach activities, Google mashup map highlighting volunteer updates from around the world and much more.

“I’m incredibly proud of the passion that our global team has for this critical initiative,” said Novak who has visited poverty-stricken areas in Guatemala and seen the needs firsthand. Novak is donating all proceeds from his newly released book, The Education of an Accidental CEO – Lessons Learned from the Trailer Park to the Corner Office (Crown Publishing) to the World Food Programme.

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