Four years ago, the Grain Foods Foundation was created by milling and baking companies to counter the low-carb movement by providing information about the benefits of eating bread. Now, the foundation, which includes companies such as Sara Lee, is turning its attention to feeding the needy, even as it continues to promote bread through a multimedia campaign called the Bread Art Project.
For every consumer who uploads a piece of "bread art" at breadartproject.com, the foundation will donate a dollar to the nonprofit organization Feeding America. Consumers can "toast," paint, sketch and draw on different types of bread such as country white and sourdough. They can also view others' art, forward to friends, and read facts about hunger in America and, of course, the benefits of eating bread.
The virtual fundraiser is an intriguing tool at a time when both nonprofit organizations and citizens are being hurt by the ailing economy. "The need out there is great," says Kristen Patterson, vice president and account director at the agency Mullen, which created the multimedia project. "There are people who don't have a lot of income, but want to give back. This is an easy, low-cost way of giving." It also may be a way to break through the Internet clutter to promote bread - or any product for that matter. "There's so much saturation online," says Gina Preziosa, vice president and associate media director at Mullen's mediaHUB. "It's getting harder and harder for us to engage people." But viral activity and participation in charity seems to be working at least in the early stages of the project. The Bread Art Project launched in late March and the foundation hopes to raise $50,000 during the campaign, which runs through the end of May. Fara Warner