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Former NBA Star Kermit Washington Fasts to Feed the Hungry

Three day fast at American University to raise funds to feed two million hungry people in Africa

WHO:      Kermit Washington, former NBA star and AU alumnus

WHAT:      Three Day Fast for the Hungry to raise awareness for hunger relief in Africa

WHEN:     11 a.m., Friday, September 11 – 6 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 13
Kick off event, with speeches, at 11 a.m., Friday, Sept. 11

WHERE:    American University, Main Quad across from Mary Graydon Center, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20016

MEDIA:    Washington is available to discuss his fast, and his commitment to hunger relief work throughout the three day event. To make arrangements for an interview please contact Maralee Csellar, AU’s Univ. Communications Office, at 202-885-5952 or 202-345-3295 (cell).  

WASHINGTON, DC (September 10, 2009) – He’s been a pro basketball player, and a coach and most recently a philanthropist, but for three days, starting Friday, September 11, former NBA star and American University alumnus Kermit Washington, will forgo food and sleep in a tent on the AU campus for a cause that has inspired him to make a difference–hunger relief in Africa.

Washington will "Fast for the Hungry" on American University’s main quad to commemorate Hunger Action Month.  Washington's goal is to raise enough money to feed two million hungry people in Africa.  “Just $1 a day can feed 10 people,” says Washington. “One dollar buys four pounds of rice or beans, and that becomes 12 pounds when it’s cooked.”

Washington, 58, began the nonprofit, Project Contact,  in 1995 after a trip to Rwanda with an organization that brings medical relief to various African nations exposed him to a large degree of human suffering and poor living conditions. Since that initial visit, the Leesburg, Va. resident has made more than 20 trips to Nairobi, Kenya and has fed approximately 25,000 people a month through funds he has raised.

Washington’s home away from home during this fast will be a small tent in front of the Mary Graydon Center on American University’s main quad.  Armed with a sleeping bag, Washington kicks off his commitment with an event on the main quad at 11 a.m., Friday, to explain his objectives and discuss his hunger relief work. AU president Neil Kerwin and School of International Service dean Louis Goodman will also make remarks.

American University's support of this effort – and of one of its distinguished alumni – underscores the university’s commitment to social responsibility on a global scale. By bringing this fast to his alma mater, Washington hopes students will develop a deeper understanding of the issues of hunger on the African continent.

The American University community will assist Washington in his effort through education and cultural displays, and a panel discussion to examine hunger relief issues which was arranged and organized by students. This panel will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, September 11 in the SIS Lounge.

Washington, whose No. 24 jersey hangs from the rafters in Bender Arena, is perhaps the most accomplished athlete in AU history. In his junior year he was offered a pro contract but opted to stay and finish his education. As a senior Washington was an All-American and NCAA Academic All American.  Following graduation, Washington played for eight years in the NBA. He also routinely collects signed equipment and memorabilia from NBA players and auctions it to raise money for his foundation.

American University is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the United States and nearly 140 countries. Located in Washington, D.C., the university provides opportunities for academic excellence, public service, and internships in the nation’s capital and around the world.