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Religious advertising campaign to fight hunger

By DAVID E. ANDERSON, UPI Religion Writer

WASHINGTON -- Three major religious agencies, with the aid of the Advertising Council, have come together to launch a massive advertising campaign to fight world hunger, the National Council of Churches said Sunday.

The three groups -- Catholic Relief Services, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Comittee and the National Council of Churches' Church World Service -- already work together as the Interfaith Hunger Appeal.

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It will be the first time, however, that the Advertising Council has lent its skills to the campaign against hunger.

The Advertising Council is a non-profit organization founded and funded by the advertising and communications industries to conduct non-commercial, public interest advertising.

Among its best known campaigns are the Smokey the Bear forest fire prevention ads and the United Negro College Fund campaign, featuring the slogan 'A mind is a terrible thing to waste.'

The anti-hunger campaign will feature the slogan, 'You are the hope of the hungry,' said Larry Hollen of Church World Service.

'We did not want a campaign that played on guilt because people somewhere are else are starving,' Hollen said.

The campaign will be the first time the three religious agencies which cooperate in the Interfaith Hunger Appeal have worked together on a national advertising and fund-raising campaign, Hollen said.

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'Our efforts are built on the belief that together we can have a greater impact, not only here, in raising public awareness, but also overseas in the actual delivery of services to people,' Hollen said.

One of the 60-second radio spots developed for the campaign asks listeners to 'imagine what it's like to go to bed hungry every night. That's how one quarter of the world lives. They need help before malnutrition scars them for life.'

The radio spot then tells listeners that Protestant, Catholic and Jewish relief and development agencies are working with people in 10 countries. 'They're getting food and medicine to the children, and bringing life-giving skills to adults. So the hungry of the world will learn how to develop their own lives,' the spots say.

Hollen said the Ad Council will also conduct surveys in four cities to determine how effective the public service messages are.

'Within a year we will know what succeeds and what fails in attracting people's attention, what can be done in improving the educational content of the campaign, and how effectively it has helped in raising people's awareness of hunger issues,' Hollen said.

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