The 25-year-old Hillarys resident recently helped to raise more than $1 million for the UN World Food Programme as part of KFC Australia’s World Hunger Relief fundraiser.
The World Food Program is the largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, reaching more than 80 million people with food assistance in 82 countries each year.
Six hundred KFC stores nationwide take part in the program annually to raise funds to provide food and resources to impoverished villages across the globe.
Last year the Ellenbrook store alone raised more than $12,000 and as a result, Melina and five other managers from around Australia were given the opportunity to go to the Philippines in January.
“It was a real eye-opener,” she said.
“The Philippines had just been hit by a typhoon the month before we got there, so the villages we visited were in the process of rebuilding.”Melina said that she did not initially realise the money went towards crises other than hunger.
“They call it world hunger relief, so you assume that’s what it’s for, providing food,” she said.
“But the trip was based around disaster relief. The main reason behind it is still to make sure people don’t go hungry, but a lot of funds go towards sustaining the food they have in that country for when natural disasters such as typhoons hit.”
Melina also said the group saw exactly what funds are used for after a disaster.
“The money went into planting mangroves along the banks to stop the floods coming in and protecting their crops,” she said.
“It went into providing tarpaulins to go around housing too.”
Money was also used for early warning equipment as there was no access to radios or TVs.
“The last typhoon in December there were six casualties, which they saw as ‘successful’,” she said.
Melina’s trip to the Philippines has made her even more enthusiastic to continue encouraging Ellenbrook locals to get behind the cause.