How LifePack fights child malnutrition around the world by playing video games

The association is looking for publishing partners to help raise funds and raise awareness.

Hive, a social impact brain trust and organization for the defense of malnutrition The Eleanor Crook Foundation have teamed up to form LifePack, a nonprofit organization that fights child hunger by playing video games.

“[Child hunger] is a problem we can do something about ”, Hive Co-founder Erin Thornton told GameDaily. “It’s just that no one really realizes it. The other factor here is that so many people think they know about malnutrition, but they really don’t know it. We realized that we had to reintroduce the problem and focus on the fact that there is something that can be done.

LifePack is a two-pronged initiative to raise funds to provide Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food Packs (RUTF) to areas in great need and to raise awareness of global issues of child hunger. In 2019, William Moore, CEO of the Eleanor Crook Foundation, began discussing with Thornton ways to engage the general public in the fight against child malnutrition. Extensive research from Hive and TECF indicated that Millennials and Gen Z were the audiences most interested in the issue.

“It didn’t take us long to go from ‘this is the generation that we kind of want to engage in the solution’ to realizing that the video game industry is where we could approach them,” said Thornton. “It was a bit of a leap of faith, but we were like, ‘why can’t we invite the younger generations and players in general to really do good while doing what they love? “”

Thornton began to build a team to help build bridges in the games industry. Two of its members are Lisa Welch, currently a consultant at Hive and former vice president of consumer strategy at Activision, and Geoff Keighley, creator of Summer Game Fest. Keighley was not available for comment, although Thornton said he and Welch were actively involved in generating ideas and pitching LifePack to key industry figures and potential partners.

Tilting Point’s mobile game publisher SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off is the first partnership in the project designed to raise funds for RUTF packs via a special LifePack microtransaction added to the in-game store. Thornton said it was just a happy coincidence that the game was all about food and that LifePack plans to split into several genres including sports and fantasy.

Regardless of the genre, Thornton said that LifePack’s presence in it will always be authentic and tied to the game’s central concept, as something that either revives or nourishes the characters. LifePack has no additional partners to announce yet, but Thornton said she believes that may change soon.

“We had a really warm welcome [so far] and are in talks with other companies, ”Thornton said. “We hope to have more news in the coming year, but that’s the idea, that this can be something that the whole industry comes together around. These microtransactions are small, but when combined, this industry could have a very big impact on this problem. “

Moore said each RUTF costs around 23 cents, and it typically takes a week or two for a child receiving three packs of RUTF a day to bring them back from the brink of starvation. The Foundation is funding extensive research into how to make treatment even more profitable, although fundraising is only half of LifePack’s goal.

For a week after the project’s launch, the LifePack website hosts a simple web game called The LifePack. The goal is to escape the hunger, the villain, and get RUTF to stay alive. Although this is what Thornton called a “gross oversimplification” of the problem, the game is designed to raise awareness about child malnutrition, and LifePack is committed to giving a RUTF day every time someone else. ‘a load the game.

“The calculations are not strictly monetary,” Thornton said. “We focused on this industry because we knew we could touch a lot of eyeballs and hopefully inspire people to, if not by buying a micro-transaction, maybe later on, they will want to know more about this problem and get a little more involved. There are so many different ways to put this problem on the map of policy makers or donors. This is one of the reasons we go door to door and hope to have more games on board. “

Thornton said LifePack is open to all sizes of developers, whether independent or not, and across platforms, but the organization is also considering broadcasting events and other methods to make LifePack more flexible and desirable. for publishers.

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Josh is a freelance journalist and critic who has appeared on PC Gamer, Upload VR, and SPIN Online, among others. Apart from writing games and working in digital marketing, he also has a university background in history and public relations. You can usually find him outside playing with his Belgian Malinois when he’s not working or spending too much time indoors. Final Fantasy XIV.

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