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Drew Barrymore, actress

Feeding a child is such a simple thing, but you can tell it makes a difference, said Drew Barrymore during her first trip to the Stara school in Nairobi. WFP/Guillaume Bonn

Ambassador Against Hunger

One of the best-loved film stars on the silver screen today, Drew Barrymore became a WFP Ambassador Against Hunger in 2007 after travelling to Kenya to meet kids getting an education with the help of WFP’s school meals programme.

Her first trip, in 2005, brought her to the Stara School in Nairobi’s Kibera slum, where WFP feeds some 470 children growing up in extreme poverty. Around seven in ten of the children she met during her visit were AIDS orphans, some of them HIV positive themselves.

"Feeding a child at school is such a simple thing," said Barrymore, while scooping corn-and-bean porridge into the students' bright red cups. "But you can tell it works miracles."

The trip proved to be a deeply moving experience for the 35-year-old actress, whose travel diaries later featured on the April 2006 cover of womens' monthly Marie Claire. In her introduction, editor Lesley Jane Seymour called it “one of the best stories this magazine has ever published.”

Barrymore was so impressed by the things she’d seen at the Stara School that came back two years later in 2007 alongside Kenyan marathon legend Paul Tergat, himself a former school meals beneficiary.

Upon returning from Africa, her appointment as a WFP Ambassador Against Hunger became official. “I am honoured and humbled to accept this challenging and rewarding assignment,” she said. “I can’t think of any issue that is more important than working to see that no schoolchild in this world goes hungry.”

She later joined both Tergat and WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran in Washington D.C. to urge the government to redouble its support of school-feeding programmes around the world.

In March 2008, Barrymore took a bold stand in support of the world’s hungry during a special appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show as she announced a USD $1 million donation to support WFP school feeding projects in Kenya.

“I’ve seen what a difference a simple cup of nutritious porridge can make in a child’s life. It helps them learn, stay healthy and sets them on track for a bright future. I urge everyone – everywhere – to help WFP make hunger history,” she said.

Following her donation, Barrymore accompanied Josette Sheeran to the Chicago Board of Trade to meet with civic and business leaders and discuss the debilitating effect of soaring commodity prices on the world’s hungry poor.

In January 2010, following the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, Barrymore issued an impassioned video appeal urging her fans to support WFP’s emergency relief operation.

 

Profession: actress, child star in ET, the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). Star of numerous box office hits, awarded a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame in 2004. Also produced the 2003 sequel to Charlie's Angels, Full Throttle.

WFP Ambassador Against Hunger since: May 2007

WFP Partner since: September 2005

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