The Eleanor Crook Foundation (ECF) in collaboration with social impact agency Hive has launched a new initiative called LifePack that uses video games to address severe malnutrition, the cause of almost half of worldwide deaths of children under the age of five.
For every 25 cents raised through the LifePack initiative, one ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) packet is given to a child in need. These packets are comprised of peanut butter and condensed milk, require no preparation or refrigeration, and contain 500 calories. According to the ECF, a child on the verge of death can be saved by consuming just three RUTF packets a day for six to eight weeks.
To participate, you can find the ECF’s free retro-style Super Mario Bros game on their website. As you advance through the levels, RUTFs act as power-ups in the game. This translates to real-life as each time you play, a malnourished child receives a RUTF packet that gives them an actual power-up that just may help them survive another day.
The foundation guaranteed funding for its goal of 10,000 plays for 10,000 packets, but the positive response was overwhelming, so that target was hit within 26 hours of the game’s launch. In the coming weeks, the organization expects to announce more fundraising partnerships.
Tilting Point is the first game developer to support the cause and has pledged the proceeds from in-game gem packs in SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off directly to LifePack. All of the proceeds raised through LifePack’s other video game partners will go straight to the purchase of RUTF packets, which will then be distributed in eastern African communities by Action Against Hunger, a global nonprofit whose main goal is to fight malnutrition.
Hive co-founder and partner Erin Thornton says that the objective behind this project went beyond saving children from malnutrition. Ultimately, the team behind the LifePack initiative wanted “to create a piece of compelling communication that would educate the audience on malnutrition; highlight the lifesaving treatment available, and ultimately begin to unite the gaming industry to provide more of it.”
Source image: Action Against Hunger