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Founders of a new center meant to educate people about hunger relief work around the world hope visitors will come away not only knowing more about the problem, but resolved to do something about it.
The Action Center to End World Hunger, a project of international aid organization Mercy Corps, was to open Thursday - World Food Day - in Manhattan.
The multimedia, interactive facility offers a variety of ways to get involved, range from writing a letter to a congressman to sponsoring a tree in Niger to becoming a volunteer.
It features a video narrated by "30 Rock" and "Saturday Night Live" actress Tina Fey.
"The Action Center will illuminate how hunger is not the problem, but the symptom of many root causes, such as poor agricultural practices, human rights abuses, and the impacts of climate change," Fey says in the video. By identifying and highlighting these underlying causes, the Action Center will seek to generate the public resolve necessary to create lasting change."
George Devendorf of Mercy Corps said one goal is to "get someone who hasn't previously taken an action to take one."
Four "training towers" focus on issues related to hunger, such as land use or governance, and show how various countries deal with those issues.
Mercy Corps, based in Portland, Oregon, sees the center as a way of helping Americans change the way they see the world, and getting them more connected to global issues, Devendorf said.
"We're not going to be successful in achieving the kind of lasting change we want unless we open up a second front in that struggle, and that second front is here at home," he said. "It's influencing Americans and building a constituency of citizens who understand what some of these root causes are that animate hunger and poverty and have a clear understanding of some of the steps they can take."
Devendorf said the idea to create the center started at the Battery Park City Authority, which was looking for a complement to the Irish Hunger Memorial in that neighborhood. The memorial commemorates the famine that brought hundreds of thousands of Irish to New York.
The center is hosting several events to mark the opening, including a panel discussion and a comedy show.