Nov 11, 2014

Unilever Project Fights Against Death From Preventable Diseases

Children’s speeches in television ads utilized to drive change

Every day, thousands of children die from preventable diseases because they lack access to proper sanitation, hygiene and clean drinking water. Equally, millions of people do not know where their next meal is coming from, yet tons of food are wasted every year.

Unilever Project Sunlight is launching “Bright Future Speeches,” a campaign to focus on young people who have new visions for the future. These new leaders hold strong views on making sustainable living commonplace for everyone, and will share their ideas to tackle the issues listed above. Kylee McCumber of Leominster, Mass., and Elijah King of Los Angeles are two of the eight voices being featured in the first TV advertisement for the Unilever brand itself.

Films will show eight young people’s stories across five countries – Brazil, Indonesia, India, the U.K. and the U.S. – over the coming weeks. 

Tackling these issues is at the heart of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, which has pledged to help more than one billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020.

In October, Unilever Project Sunlight launched a program to encourage people to “Share A Meal” with families in need, based on the statistic that one in five children in America does not have enough food to eat. As an extension of this program, the project is supporting the Bright Future Speeches films, which highlights youth hunger activists like McCumber and King to inspire adults to follow the examples of young people. 

McCumber, 13, distributes meal kits to hungry children in her community. She provides meals to 185 children each week as part of the Kylee’s Kare Kits for Kidz program, an initiative she founded in 2012 after she found out that students at her school were facing hunger.

“I started my organization hoping to provide food for 10 kids in my school, and now I’m helping to feed nearly 200 – all because I wanted to do something,” McCumber said. “It’s hard to believe that hunger exists in my own community. You don’t need a passport to find hunger, you only need to look around you.”

King, 14, has been feeding the homeless for eight years by delivering meals and volunteering at community outreach events in his hometown of Atlanta, and now Los Angeles. At the age of five, while living in Atlanta, King wanted to help feed the hungry in his community. He joined his local house of worship and helped collect donations from people to help feed the homeless and provide food, clothes and haircuts to the underprivileged.

“Seeing people suffering from hunger made me want to do something to help,” King said. “I’ve seen first-hand how small actions can make a big difference in the fight against hunger. Together we can help end child hunger if we all do our part.”

“A year after the launch of Project Sunlight, a long-term initiative focused on creating a brighter future for children, Unilever is shining a light on the young people inspiring change in their communities,” said Keith Weed, Unilever chief marketing and communications officer. “We want the voices of the new generation to be heard – to motivate us all to take action. Together, we can help the millions of children who do not have access to basic sanitation, hygiene, nutrition and clean water.”

To help fight the issue of child hunger in the U.S., Unilever has partnered with the nation’s leading hunger relief organization, Feeding America, which serves 12 million children each year. With the help of Feeding America’s network of 200 food banks nationwide, Unilever has been able to contribute nearly 30 million meals to families and children over the past five years, which includes more than 13 million lb of food and more than $3 million in support.