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New York Daily News: 'Museum' of hunger feeds more than needy

United States, February 27, 2008

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Stephanie Gaskell

The New York Daily News
February, 2008

Got a minute? How about an hour or even a day?

Mercy Corps' new $5.4 million Action Center to End World Hunger, which will open in Battery Park City this fall, will help visitors learn what they can do to help feed needy people across the globe.

"We're focusing on solutions," said George Devendorf, the center's executive director. "The premise here is that hunger is something that we can overcome."

The center will give visitors things they can do to help depending on how much time they can donate.
"It's a museum about hunger," said Devendorf. "It's a heavy subject, and we recognize that. That's why we've gone to great lengths to make this a dynamic, engaging experience."

"We want to give people options that go far beyond writing a check," he said.

Devendorf said the 4,000-square-foot center will have "action centers" that offer visitors up to 100 different things they can do to help the hungry.

And not just in faraway places such as Africa - but in New York City, too.

"Hunger is a truly global challenge," he said. "We see it in dramatic terms overseas, but domestically we know it exists in our own backyard."

He said the center will allow New Yorkers to type in their zip code and get the address of the nearest soup kitchen where they can volunteer.

The center is just one of a slew of socially conscious venues popping up in Battery Park City - and it's no accident.

The neighborhood borders Ground Zero and now is home to the Holocaust Museum, the Irish Famine memorial, the WTC Tribute Center and the NYPD Police Memorial, and soon the Poet's House and a branch of the New York Public Library will open there.

"It's an imperative response by our city and our society that next to this site where this act of evil and destruction took place we have these facilities which stand for a better future," said City Councilman Alan Gerson, who represents the area.

"It's important that we don't just rebuild residentially and commercially, but spiritually as well."