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Italy's first commemorative Euro coin makes the cost of hunger count


ROME - Italians were given a new way to count the cost of hunger on Monday when the Government dedicated its first commemorative Euro coin to the United Nations World Food Programme, as it began its fifth decade of delivering food aid to the world's hungry.

"It is an honour for WFP to be selected, and for this opportunity to generate more awareness of humanitarian work and the fight against global hunger," said James T. Morris, Executive Director of WFP, warmly welcoming the commemorative coin.

"Everyone has a coin in their hand at some point of the day - what better way to remind Europeans of the 800 million hungry people who often don't know where their next meal is coming from."

WFP, headquartered in Rome, began delivering emergency food aid to victims of an earthquake in Iran in 1962. Since then, the agency has become the world's largest humanitarian organisation, providing food to 1.2 billion of the world's poorest people.

In 2003 alone, the agency's food aid reached the hands and mouths of over 100 million people in 81 countries, from Iraq to Ethiopia.

The front of the new two Euro coin, legal currency across the Eurozone, is engraved with a globe and the words "World Food Programme" as well as displaying three key components of food aid -- maize, rice and wheat.

Until this year, Euro coins carried a European front with a national symbol on the back. However, since January 2004, Eurozone countries can dedicate the national face of ‘their' coin to a specific event or cause.

Sixteen million of the minted commemorative coins will be circulated.

A special version of the new two Euro coin is available upon request from WFP in return for a minimum donation of 10 Euros - enough to guarantee a nutritious school lunch for more than 60 hungry children in the world's poorest countries.

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency: in 2003 we gave food aid to a record 104 million people in 81 countries, including 56 million hungry children.

WFP Global School Feeding Campaign For just 19 US cents a day, you can help WFP give children in poor countries a healthy meal at school -- a gift of hope for a brighter future.

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For more information please contact (email address:

Brenda Barton,
Deputy Director Communications,
Tel. +39-06-65132602,
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Gregory Barrow,
Tel. +44-20-75929292,
Mob. +44-7968-008474

Christiane Berthiaume,
Tel. +41-22-9178564,
Mob. +41-79-2857304

Trevor Rowe,
Tel. +1-212-9635196,
Mob. +1-646-8241112

Jordan Dey,
Tel. +1-202-6530010 ext. 1149,
Mob. +1-202-4223383

Vichi DeMarchi,
Tel. +39-06-65132058,
Mob. +39-348-0517605