Red Rooster Hosts UNICEF Tap Water Project

Today marks the kickoff for World Water Week, where UNICEF's Tap Project is put into full swing. This week, March 19-25, 2012, Red Rooster Harlem will help raise money to provide children in developing countries with access to clean water. UNICEF's Tap Project encourages restaurants to ask their customers to donate $1 or more for the tap water that usually comes free. That money then goes to fund UNICEF's water projects and with just one dollar, UNICEF can provide one child access to safe, clean water for 40 days.

The UNICEF tap project sprung to life five years ago in New York City. The idea behind the cause was that all funds raised would support UNICEF's efforts to bring healthy water to millions of children around the world from Belize, Central African Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Iraq, Vietnam, Togo, and Cote d'Ivoire, to name a few. Since its creation, the tap project has raised nearly $3 million. However, nearly 900 million people worldwide still lack access to safe drinking water. By participating in a local effort, we are working towards a lifesaving cause on a global level.

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. Efforts are spread throughout 150 countries and the organization does everything it can to improve access to healthy water and sanitation facilities in communities and schools. By providing health care, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more, UNICEF is making strides in all the right directions.

Over 500 restaurants have already joined the 2012 campaign for Tap Week. Click here to find participating restaurants near you. So when you visit Red Rooster this week ask your server about UNICEF's Tap Project and be sure to donate to help children gain access to clean, fresh water- a privilege that we often take for granted.

For more Red Rooster news, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)

My GenConnect UNICEF Tap Project Video

I have been a UNICEF ambassador for more than 10 years now and one of UNICEF's projects that is most important to me is their Tap Project. Tap helps provide funding for better access to clean water for millions of children throughout the world, especially in Africa. How Tap works is simple; restaurants like Red Rooster Harlem, ask their patrons to donate $1 or more for the tap water they usually enjoy for free, and all funds raised go to support UNICEF's efforts to bring clean and accessible water to millions of children in developing countries.

Since its inception in 2007, the UNICEF Tap Project has raised almost $2.5 million in the U.S. and has helped provide clean water for millions of children globally. Just the other day, genConnect featured their video of my passion for UNICEF's Tap Project. Check out my genConnect video below about why UNICEF and the Tap Project are so important to me.

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To learn more about genConnect, click here.

For more of my videos, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)

Giving Thanks - Food Thoughts with Sheryl Estrada

As I prepare to enjoy a meal with family and friends during the Thanksgiving holiday, I think it is important to take a moment to be grateful.

Here are food and drink that I'm grateful for:

Clean water.

It is fortunate to be able to turn on a faucet and have clean, clear water at my disposal. Everyone should have access, as it is a necessity for life.

The UNICEF Tap Project is a great way to help make this happen. Funds raised by the project go towards UNICEF's efforts to bring clean and accessible water to children around the world. The project, originated in 2007 in New York City, works by participating restaurants asking customers to donate $1 or more for tap water, which is usually free, occurring annually during World Water Week. Chef Marcus Samuelsson is an ambassador for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. For more information, click here.

Rice.

Rice is a major part of the world's diet. There are about 120,000 varieties. I particularly enjoy brown rice for its nutrients. However, what I am most grateful for is the ability rice has to be a major tool in curbing world hunger.

-FreeRice provides a clever way to feed many. The site offers quiz questions in which every correct answer provides grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. According to the website, "...since 2007 FreeRice has helped raise enough funds to feed more than 4 million people for a day in countries like Uganda and Bangladesh."

-To celebrate "World Food Day" this year, 204 students at The New School came up with "Rice Day." Students ate rice instead of the regular school meal, and donated the difference to the World Food Program.

Fresh fruit and vegetables.

The nutritional value of fresh fruit and vegetables is essential. I am grateful to be able to visit a farmers' market, and have grocery stores in my vicinity that provide fresh produce.

AmpleHarvest.org encourages gardeners with extra produce to donate to a local food pantry. Through the organization, gardeners will have access to a central nationwide directory of food pantries. The goal is to help diminish hunger in America "garden-by-garden." For more information, click here.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!