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'The Hunger Games' movie attracts campaigns to fight real-world hunger

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AP Photo/Lionsgate, Murray Close

(Read caption) Jennifer Lawrence portrays Katniss Everdeen in a scene from the movie 'The Hunger Games,' opening March 23, 2012. The movie has spawned fan-based efforts online to fight hunger in the real world.

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Lionsgate, the producers of "The Hunger Games," the movie opening tonight that some think could be the next "Harry Potter" blockbuster series, knew that the title of the fantasy film aimed at teens and young adults would bring to mind the problem of hunger in the real world.

The film has made an official partnership with The World Food Programme (WFP) and, in the United States, the charity Feeding America. A special website,, features a brief video with "The Hunger Games" stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth urging the film's fans to fight hunger. The site also features a "hunger quiz" and ways to click and donate online.

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A press release issued by the WFP and Feeding America last month notes that hunger affects 1 in 7 people – nearly 1 billion people worldwide. And in the United States alone, 1 in 6 Americans, nearly 49 million people, face hunger.

“This partnership will help us spread the word that hunger is the world’s greatest solvable problem,” says Nancy Roman, WFP's director of communications. “We want to tap into that excitement.... We are deeply grateful for the support of Suzanne Collins, [the author of 'The Hunger Games' books,] who writes as though she understands hunger in the world, as well as Lionsgate and 'The Hunger Games' cast – who have the power to change lives as they feed people worldwide.”

But fans are also spreading the word themselves. Imagine Better, an effort that originated with fans at the Harry Potter Alliance, has begun a "Hunger Is Not a Game" campaign, calling on fans to donate to Oxfam America's Grow project, which emphasizes helping people around the world grow more of their own food, rather than relying on imported food aid.

Imagine Better has asked fans to use the Twitter hashtag #NotAGame to raise awareness of Oxfam's Grow project and the issue of hunger.

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