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Super Bowl, NFL can raise awareness about global hunger

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The Super Bowl can be so much more than a classic championship game and a barrage of advertisements. The NFL, with its powerful media presence, has a great opportunity to help the suffering people around the world. There are 842 million people worldwide who struggle every day to find basic food.

As we speak, severe hunger emergencies exist in Syria, Central African Republic, South Sudan and many other corners of the globe. Funding is so low for these hunger relief missions that rations are sometimes cut for war victims.

Yet, when a day like Super Bowl Sunday comes around you see the opposite, a massive display of abundance. What also exists though is the opportunity to make a difference. The NFL could do a lot more with some its campaigns that address global hunger.

In 2011, the NFL took part in a program to raise awareness about war, drought and famine. This was in response to massive food shortages at that time in East Africa. The NFL could restart this campaign and expand its reach to all conflict, disaster and poverty-affected areas. The NFL could raise the profile of world hunger within its marketing strategy.

Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints has become an ambassador for the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the largest hunger relief organization. We need to hear more about this on NFL programming. Brees encourages playing FreeRice, the online game that feeds the hungry every time you answer a question correctly.

FreeRice is a great game for people to play, raise funds for WFP, and spread awareness about hunger on social media. You could have your own Super Bowl Free Rice championship. We need to hear more about FreeRice so more people will get involved. That is where the NFL marketing strategy could do more. An advertisement on Super Bowl day would be an example.

The free app Charity Miles would be something the NFL could advertise on Super Bowl Sunday. This app allows runners, walkers and bikers to workout and raise money for the World Food Programme and other charities like Stand up to Cancer and the Wounded Warrior Project. The NFL should officially partner with Charity Miles.

Feeding America is another organization that benefits from Charity Miles. With 49 million Americans suffering from hunger and cuts by Congress to the food stamp program, help for this charity is certainly needed.

What you find on Super Bowl Sunday, is a tremendous rallying and unity around a single event. The Big Game is the talk of every town. That same togetherness can also make a difference when it comes to tackling the world's most pressing issues.

When there is war, or a natural disaster, you will always find hunger. What you also find though are people who are willing to help. But first people have to know what is happening. The cries of hunger are so far away they risk not being heard, unless the media comes through.

The media can be used to focus on celebrities or a major world issue affecting millions of people. That is where a powerful media driven organization like the NFL can make a difference and send the right message. The NFL, on Super Bowl Sunday, can make a powerful statement against global hunger.

Originally published at The Huffington Post.

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