Last month students from the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati traveled to the United Nations in New York. Their mission was to learn about the UN Development goals to end world hunger and poverty.
The students attended a presentation by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. The Secretary General talked about bread and butter. Not the appetizer kind. What he meant was how children around the globe needed food, but also education.
The Secretary General told a story about growing up during the Korean War. Schools were destroyed during the fighting and children attended class outdoors, under shade of trees. When it rained there was no class.
The Secretary General told how he and other children were hungry for food, but also for knowledge. “It’s not only bread and butter,” he said, “you need to have knowledge and education.” Getting children an education is a top priority worldwide.
The students, upon returning to campus, learned more about the importance of food and education for children. The story of war-time Korea further illustrated this point. A former Cincinnati resident, Major Charles Arnold, led a UN civil assistance team that fed Korean refugee children. Without this food, the children would have suffered severe malnutrition.
The Charity CARE, with support from the U.S. Food for Peace program, provided millions of Korean children with school feeding over the decade following the war. This was a key strategy in fighting malnutrition and boosting school enrollment and learning.
Today, the United Nations World Food Program spearheads a global effort to provide all children with school meals. It’s called the Fill the Red Cup Campaign.
MSJ students received red cups from the World Food Program USA last week as a symbol of this school feeding movement. They also listened to historic messages from General Dwight Eisenhower, who spoke in 1948 at the United Nations Crusade for Children. Ike emphasized how starving children, scrapping for food, could not grow up to be apostles of peace. Food aid is essential now as it was after World War II.
The Mount campus currently fundraises for UN school feeding programs and Feeding America through its Charity Miles team. The UN class is planning to continue to spread Ban Ki-Moon’s message of hope, food and education for all.