UN to Feed Africa with Crumbs Caught in US Keyboards
Geneva, Switzerland (AP) – The United Nations announced a new initiative today, under which the accumulated cracker, bread and snack crumbs found in computer keyboards across the United States would be shipped to Africa and distributed to victims of famine and deprivation.
The Collection-Recycle of Used Munchie Bits (CRUMB) program aims to solicit donations of the fragmented foodstuffs that can be found between and beneath the keys of most desktop and laptop computers in the Western world. Estimates of the total quantity of such uneaten food range from 10,000 to 60,000 tons annually, of which the United States accounts for perhaps half.
In announcing the program, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Navi Pillay hopes to secure additional supplies for relief efforts already strained under the demands of multiple wars throughout Africa and the Middle East. The agency hopes to offset some of the depleted resources by obtaining access to the crushed Doritos, hamburger buns, pizza crusts, Snickers pieces and Bacos brand imitation bacon bits, just to name a few examples, that fall between the keys and go uneaten until the user attempts to shake the crumbs out or until ants carry off the remains.
The refugee relief agency will partner with several non-profit volunteer organizations such as Médécins Sans Frontièrs to set up a collection system across the US and deposit the accrued crumbs in designated facilities, where other volunteers with sort the collected crumbs and organize them according to type. The sorted pieces will then be packaged appropriately and delivered by volunteers and agency personnel on the ground in famine and conflict zones up and down Africa.
“This is an exciting opportunity for everyone involved,” said Pillay. “The American computer user does not need to give up anything but a few moments to allow for the collection of the crumbs he would not get to eat anyway, and the African recipient of the aid will finally get a taste of the richness of American cuisine.” Pillay declined to clarify whether the latter clause of his sentence was intended facetiously.
Already, aid organizations have mobilized volunteers to begin soliciting keyboard crumbs, but their first step, naturally, involves collecting their own accrued stockpiles. “I just went through a couple of old keyboards we have in the stockroom and scored some fragments of White Cheddar Cheez-Its,” said Stephanie Pecker, a project coordinator for The American Red Cross in Houston, Texas. “I figure if we can go through every terminal in this office we could come up with at least one old piece of salami, some chocolate chip cookie detritus and maybe even a bit of Twinkie.” she said.
If the program enjoys success, Pillay intends to roll out an expansion to collect the greasy smears of American fingers from their touchscreen devices, grease that can be used as fuel in resource-starved countries across the Third World.
However, some foodstuffs will prove difficult to persuade owners to give up. “Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger,” said Pecker.