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BEST WESTERN EXECUTIVES, RELIEF OFFICIALS RETURN FROM MOSCOW WITH TALES OF HUNGER AND SUFFERING

 BEST WESTERN EXECUTIVES, RELIEF OFFICIALS RETURN FROM MOSCOW
 WITH TALES OF HUNGER AND SUFFERING
 PHOENIX, March 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Moscow resident Tatyana Olshvang has seen firsthand a world war and the rise and fall of an empire -- but nothing like the situation in her homeland today.
 "The food crisis right now is worse than it was in the second World War," said 79-year-old Olshvang. "At least then when we worked in the factory we received food. Now we get nothing."
 Olshvang's plight deeply moved Ron Evans of U.S.-based Best Western International who was in Moscow last week to help distribute food to hungry families there. "Nothing I read or saw before coming here prepared me for this," said Evans. "I knew that things were bad in Russia, but not this bad."
 Evans, president and chief executive officer of Best Western, helped distribute 1,250 food packs to more than 1,000 Moscow families. The food packs were purchased with donations from Best Western hotels worldwide. Donations from members of the international hotel chain paid to have 50 tons of food sent to the former Soviet Union.
 The Best Western donations are part of a larger effort by Christian international relief and development organization World Vision to send 300 tons of food to help supplement the diets of more than 25,000 families in the former Soviet republics of Russia, Armenia and Belarus during the winter months.
 "We came to see with our own eyes where the money is going and how it has been spent," said Evans. "We now know. The food has gone directly to the people in need and is not sitting in some bureaucrat's warehouse. We've given it out with our own hands."
 Commenting on how crucial this kind of aid is, Craig Hammon, vice president of development at World Vision, said, "I heard a common sentiment among many people in Moscow, 'better a tyrant and a loaf of bread, than freedom and starvation.' I don't see why they should have to choose. It's up to us to help make sure they have both -- bread and freedom."
 Working in Moscow with Evans and Hammon were Judy Nelson, Best Western's vice president of Membership Administration; Richard Watson, owner of the Best Western Regency/Lexington hotel in Kentucky; Calvin Howe, a former Best Western director, and Patricia Graham, information and research coordinator for World Vision. The world's largest lodging chain, Best Western has more than 3,300 member properties in 42 countries worldwide.
 -0- 3/16/92
 /NOTE: Compelling footage of last week's interviews with Moscow residents is available on Betacam. Black and white photographs are also available by calling Rachel Repko at 818-357-1111, ext. 2158. Interviews with Ron Evans, president and chief executive officer of Best Western International, and Craig Hammon, vice-president of development at World Vision, can also be arranged through the contact.
 /CONTACT: Steve Tripp or Buffy Jones of Best Western, 602-957-5671; or Rachel Repko of World Vision, 818-357-1111, ext. 2158/ CO: Best Western International; World Vision ST: Arizona IN: LEI SU:


EH-JL -- LA040 -- 8555 03/16/92 19:47 EST
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Date:Mar 16, 1992
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