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      Initiative helps empower volunteers, fight hunger

      In a season closely associated with sweet treats and good eats, it is hard to think that many in our area are going without.

      One local organization is working to empower the region to volunteer with the aim of helping reduce the number of people going hungry this season. The organization,iFightHunger.org, is the brainchild of former Marine Corps officer Prescott Paulin. Paulin, who maintains a food video blog, created the idea that hopes to boost the number of average citizens that are volunteering. When volunteers register on the site, they are then put in the running to win a meal cooked by a chef from some of the most notable restaurants in the area.

      "The site rewards those who take a virtual pledge, and submit proof as a photo or video, with chef's meals this season in order to foster the elimination of holiday hunger," Paulin said.

      Paulin works as a defense consultant for POLITICO, which is owned by Allbritton Communications Company, the same company that owns and operates ABC7.

      According to a 2011 USDA report, 12.6 percent of all households in D.C. were unable to secure nutritionally adequate and safe food in 2009-2011. Among the 12.6 percent, 4.4 percent were considered to have "very low food security," which leaves both adults and children experiencing deep hunger and cutting back or frequently skipping meals.

      Starting on Dec. 1 and continuing for 25 days,iFightHunger.org will feature one of their restaurant partners that will cook a meal for one of the chosen volunteers, who are picked from the pool of volunteers that have uploaded photos of themselves doing good.

      "Our goal is to connect top chefs with volunteers who are making an effort to give back to the community. When you volunteer, you get rewarded! Anyone can enter, showcase their effort, and be recognized. With the platform we're creating, we aim to incentivize community activism and connect folks for the holiday season to do a more effective job of recognizing and combating hunger in our nation," according to the organization's website.

      Anyone can volunteer, starting now, and enter for a chance to win a chef's dinner. For more information, click here.