Governor David A. Paterson recognized World Food Day and joined with Mercy Corps, the global relief and development organization, and New York City Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services Linda Gibbs to open the world’s first "Action Center to End World Hunger."
The special center is designed to illuminate the complex causes of hunger and poverty, bring to life the daily experiences of aid workers and the communities they serve, and provide a unique platform for direct transformative action. The Action Center, located in Battery Park City, is also the first interior commercial building in New York City to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the highest environmentally sustainable rating by the United States Green Building Council.
"On this very important World Food Day I am thrilled to welcome this great organization to New York," said Governor Paterson. "This first of its kind center will inspire all who visit to take action in the fight against hunger. In these difficult times, it is important to remember all those around the country and the world who are suffering. I would also like to thank the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the Battery Park City Authority for helping to make this project possible in New York."
Designed by nationally prominent designer Edwin Schlossberg and his team at ESI Design, Mercy Corps’ new 4,000-square-foot Center will feature highly interactive, media-rich exhibits that utilize new technologies such as a custom designed Google Earth Tool and numerous RSS feeds that provide breaking news from around the world.
Another key component of the Center’s exhibits is a welcome video hosted by Emmy Award-winning actress/comedienne/writer Tina Fey of NBC’s 30 Rock. Guests view the video in the "briefing area," which offers an overview of the issues of hunger and poverty. In addition to Fey’s involvement, Ann Curry of NBC’s Today and CNN’s Nic Robertson are narrating part of the "Training Towers" exhibit, a set of four interactive towers that highlight specific global challenges related to hunger and poverty, as well as case studies of how local residents and aid groups like Mercy Corps are working together to address these challenges.
Linda I. Gibbs, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, said: "The City of New York works hard each day to tackle two of the greatest challenges of our day – poverty and hunger. Through our Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO), we’ve launched more than 40 innovative anti-poverty programs. We’ve also significantly improved access to food assistance the past seven years and work each day in partnership with 500 soup kitchens and food pantries citywide. The Mercy Corps Action Center to End World Hunger is an important partner to our efforts because it gives visitors the chance to think more in depth about how they, themselves, can make a difference. By thinking creatively and working together, we can make even greater strides." Neal Keny-Guyer, Chief Executive Officer of Mercy Corps, said: "The Action Center is much more than a physical space. Our goal is for it to be a portal to a lifetime of taking action and being engaged on critical issues of hunger and poverty – this is paramount to effect long lasting change. We believe that if people are made aware of the reality of these problems, and they are offered concrete ways to make a difference – they will make an impact."
Edwin Schlossberg, Founder and Principal Designer of ESI Design, said: "The Action Center is the first of its kind participatory experience focused on world hunger that engages visitors in social change. The highlight of the design – the Action Stations – invites visitors to browse, select and participate in activities that can help solve world hunger such as becoming a counselor for homeless youth and contributing to a micro-loan program for women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan."
New York City Council Member Alan Gerson, Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) Chairman James Gill and Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) Chairman Avi Schick also took the podium to address the issue of hunger in the world and how the Center can raise awareness to educate and empower visitors to act against hunger.
The Center was made possible by $1.5 million from BPCA, $1 million from LMDC, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, $500,000 from the New York City Mayor’s office and $250,000 from the New York City Council, with the specific goal of educating the public on hunger issues and serving as a key component to the revitalization of lower Manhattan.