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Happen to be in training for that 5K fun run or a marathon for breast cancer research this fall? Running, jogging, power walking and biking are all meaningful activities that strengthen the body and the mind, and helps in the quest to look exceedingly fit in the cocktail dress come Friday night. What if there was a way to convert such health-conscious weekly toils into global humanitarianism?

With the Charity Miles iPhone application, running, biking or walking for charity is easier than ever. The app has the gestalt of physical training apps such as MapMyRun and Nike+ but with the added function of raising money for charity via remote sponsorships.

The mechanics are simple and instantaneous: download the app from the Apple Store, lace up your running shoes, launch the app, pick a charity to support, burn some asphalt and watch as your miles convert to dollars towards humanitarian efforts. Runners and walkers earn 25 cents per mile, while bikers earn 10 centers per mile for their chosen charities. The sponsorship pool for Charity Miles is up to $1,000,000.

The World Food Program (WFP) is one of the many charities taking part in this unique and universally accessible initiative. The non-profit organization works in tandem with United Nations agencies as well as other NGOs to provide food security to those marginalized peoples in refugee camps around the globe. Their mission statement involves food security as an essential organ for the body of global development.

The World Food Program reports that 66 million primary school-age children in impoverished areas attend classes hungry, but with a mere $3.2 billion the entirety of these children’s hunger could be ameliorated.

While we in the first world are running for fitness, millions of our fellow humans across the developing world are on the run for survival, whether it be for a safe haven from military shrapnel or in the desperation for food and clean water.

In response to the Syrian crisis, the WFP’s mission for October is to feed 4 million refugees despite the international community’s more urgent occupation with war. Projects of this nature are funded entirely through donations, such as those that come from crowd-funding efforts of Charity Miles.

Charity Miles marks an optimistic innovation in humanitarian efforts, smartly combining contemporary fitness technologies that instantaneously calculate the results of physical training with instantaneous funding organizations striving to better the lives of the hungry.

So get running. The two miles you run today ultimately puts food on the table for an entire refugee family in Syria.

– Malika Gumpangkum

Sources: Huffington Post1, Huffington Post2, Charity Miles, World Food Program
Photo: The Telegraph