From the Intern Desk - Patrick

The latest addition to my desk is a bright red plastic cup. Look familiar? You may recognize the cup from photos of WFP’s school feeding efforts in action! Yet in this case it is for a slightly different initiative, but one that shares the same core values. HQ has pledged to save thousands upon thousands of empty water bottles from going to waste by encouraging staff to use refillable water bottles - or even better: red cups!

I was shocked to learn that HQ goes through 1,200 water bottles every day; that’s over 300,000 every year! Yet there are millions of beneficiaries around the world who do not have access to clean, safe, water. Okay, okay, so this is not really big news. Lots of organizations around the world are encouraging similar waste-reduction initiatives. I wanted to take the time to highlight this project because I believe that it embodies the spirit of aid that is alive at WFP. Everybody can make a small difference. I have been impressed at how many staff members share this desire to make our world a better place even when they are away from their desks. I will really walk away from WFP having a much greater awareness for the many issues facing our world, even current needs beyond food security. My co-workers go out of their way to recycle, and let me tell you, in Rome, sometimes you must go far, far, out of your way to do a seemingly simple thing such as recycle. I’ve met people that bicycle to work because it’s better for our planet, and others who will never print unless absolutely necessary. I’ve found that initiatives such as this are really ingrained in the attitudes and culture of the organization. I’m glad this new project serves as yet another daily reminder of how we can all make a difference.

This leads me to a quick plug for our “Fill the Cup” campaign. It takes just 25 cents to fill one of the Red Cups that WFP uses to give hungry kids regular school meals. WFP’s cups are a powerful image, a visual tool to help show the world how little food it takes to make a huge difference in a child’s life. It is a symbol defining the struggle for daily survival. The Red Cup helps WFP’s goal of no child going to school hungry and no child missing school because of hunger. You can find out more about this initiative here. There is a lot more to our red cup water-bottle saving initiative than meets the eye!

Although it’s still early in the morning, work here is never boring! The crisis in Niger is on the agenda as a corporate emergency, and my collegues are working around the clock to get food aid the millions of people in Pakistan affected by the flodd. Now I’m off to work on funding messages for Bolivia, El Salvador, and Guatemala.