Yum! Brands, parent of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, has launched a global initiative aimed at empowering the company's more than 1.4 million associates to volunteer in their communities.

The Hunger to Hope Volunteer Challenge encourages employees to work toward ending hunger by developing teams and identifying non-profit agencies as partners.

In 2013, all participating teams will be evaluated by a panel of judges and the teams who made the biggest impacts will receive grants, as much as $20,000 each, for their partner agencies. The challenge is designed to be a year-round, ongoing effort.

"As we approach our 15th anniversary as a company, I'm incredibly proud of our franchise partners and employees and their efforts throughout the years to end world hunger," said David Novak, Yum! chairman and CEO. "With one in seven people going to bed hungry every night, it's an issue that affects us all. In addition to the millions of dollars we raise annually through the World Hunger Relief program, we have the capability to impact even more lives, which is why we are introducing this volunteer movement."

The new volunteer program builds on the company's history of supporting hunger relief initiatives. To date, Yum! has raised $115 million for WFP and other hunger relief organizations.

The company will chronicle its Hunger to Hope Volunteer Challenge through its first blog at fromhungertohope.com. The blog will follow employees as they complete community service projects and will help tell the stories of progress that the company is making to address hunger locally.

Yum! also addresses hunger in the U.S. through its Harvest program. Harvest is a prepared-food donation program with more than 148 million pounds of food at a value of nearly $650 million provided in the last two decades to the hungry.

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