Hilary Duff Brings Her Charity Work to Colombia

BOGOTA – Singer-actress Hilary Duff brought her Blessings in a Backpack program to Colombia Friday to distribute 3,000 knapsacks of food to poor children in a school district south of the capital city.

Duff will spend three days visiting children and participating in a vaccination campaign. She was greeted by Bogota Mayor Samuel Moreno, whom Duff said gave her "an amazing invitation" to bring the program to Colombia.

"We've been working for four years feeding children over the weekends," she said. "They invited us to come here, and we got our first school in Bogota."

Duff and USA Harvest founder Stan Curtis started Blessings in a Backpack for children who get their best meals at school, giving them backpacks of food every Friday to take home and share with their families when they're away from their main source of nutrition. The program serves 106 schools and 26,000 children in the U.S. and Canada.

Colombia is the third country to take on the program, said Duff, 21, who earned fame as the teenage character Lizzie McGuire in a Disney series of the same title. She has appeared more recently in "War, Inc." and "Material Girls" and recorded several hit songs and music videos.

Duff said she only has time to visit Colombia because of work. She is filming six episodes of the television series "Gossip Girl," followed by a romantic comedy and a remake of "Bonnie and Clyde."

When asked if she had a favorite Colombian singer, she said Shakira, who also does charity work with children in her home country.

"I think she's an amazing writer," Duff said. "She really has a strong idea of what she wants and she can play a lot of instruments and that really impresses me."

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.