Hunger is the world’s #1 health risk, with 1 in 7 people going hungry worldwide. Hunger kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. Close to 900 million people do not have enough to eat and 98 percent of them live in developing countries. Even in developed countries like the United States, 15 percent of households are food insecure, meaning its members have uncertain access to adequate and safe food.
While hunger is considered the key global challenge of our time, it is also believed to be the world’s greatest solvable problem. Apart from the immediate suffering it causes to the millions without enough food, hunger is also holding back progress on such social issues as health and education. Yet, no scientific breakthroughs are needed to solve hunger. The knowledge, tools, and resources that we have in the world today, combined with good will, can solve this problem.
Cisco aims to be a big part of the good will end of the solution. Cisco’s annual employee giving campaign, Global Hunger Relief, launched this week and is focused on providing immediate support to those in desperate need. At locations around the globe, Cisco employees contribute time, dollars, and expertise in support of more than 150 organizations working to help those who don’t have reliable access to food and clean water. Collectively, we donate more than $1 million to hunger relief annually through the Global Hunger Relief Campaign.
Each year in the United States, Cisco employees tackle the issue of hunger through employee engagement volunteer events, in addition to monetary donations.
Cisco’s headquarters in San Jose, California, launched the 2013 campaign with a food packaging event with Stop Hunger Now. Randy Pond, Executive Vice President of Operations, Processes, and Systems at Cisco, and over 200 employee volunteers packaged more than 46,000 meals comprised of rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables, and nutritional supplements in less than two hours. In addition to providing critical support for those in need around the globe, the event was an interesting team-building activity, with a competition to see which team could package the meals the fastest.
In North Carolina, at Cisco’s Research Triangle Park site, close to 300 employees launched the Global Hunger Relief Campaign at the campus’ 13th annual 5K to benefit the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. Walkers and runners took the nearly 3-mile trek around the RTP site. Upon return, they were served a “hunger lunch” by Nourish International consisting of rice, beans, and cornbread. Nourish, which engages college students and communities to make a lasting impact on extreme poverty, helped to further raise awareness of the urgent challenge hunger presents around the world.
Cisco’s Global Hunger Relief Campaign takes place from November 4 to December 31, 2013. All employee contributions are matched twice, tripling the impact of every gift. In addition, employees who volunteer their “sweat equity” to eligible organizations have their hours matched at $10 per hour by the Cisco Foundation.
In 2012, we raised more than $4 million through employee donations and matching gifts – that is enough to provide 16 million meals. Cisco employees come through every year with their volunteer time and monetary donations. And every year, we get a little bit closer to ending hunger in our communities around the world.