CEO, Weight Watchers International
We live in such an unusual time, given that so many people are struggling to get enough to eat, and yet obesity is a major health care issue around the world. Just look at these two statistics: 862 million people are underfed, and1.6 billion people are overweight or obese. What a startling imbalance.
To contribute to righting this imbalance, we announced Lose for Good a couple of months ago, a new challenge to Weight Watchers Members to band together and invest in their own health while helping a neighbor in need.
The goal was simple: For every pound lost by Weight Watchers between Sept. 7th and Oct. 18, we would donate the equivalent of one pound of food, up to a million dollars, to Share Our Strength or Action Against Hunger. In addition, our members and staff could contribute food locally to those who are having a hard time making ends meet.
When we started planning earlier this year, it seemed a compelling way to motivate our members and do something good for the community. As the economy started to deteriorate, food banks started to get hit pretty hard with decreased donations and increased demand. Suddenly, Lose For Good began to feel more than just compelling. It became a call to action.
All the results are not yet in, but we’re thrilled with preliminary results:
– During this six week period, our meetings members and Weight Watchers Online subscribers say they lost more than an estimated 4 million pounds.
– We met our goal, and will make a collective $1 million donation to those two outstanding hunger fighting organizations.
– And Weight Watchers volunteers and staff organized food drives at over 2,050 locations coast to coast, donating about 1.5 million pounds of food to food banks.
Here is just one of thousands of local examples of people doing great things to help their neighbors. In one of our meetings in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, our local team set up a Great Wall of Giving. For every 10 pounds of food donated, the Member received an honorary "faux" brick in the great wall of giving, woven together with nutritious food. Within six weeks, the group lost more than 1,000 pounds and donated food in that amount to the Salvation Army.
We are proud of our contribution to fight hunger. We know other organizations are doing the same. We hope even more join us.
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