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Congress Should Expand International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program

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During World War II American soldiers witnessed the tragedy of children struggling to find food for survival. This experience had a lasting impact on many, including General Dwight Eisenhower. Ike, in a series of appeals for the United Nations in 1948, emphasized that eliminating child hunger was crucial to world peace. Eisenhower believed that children who spend their young lives struggling to find sustenance, searching through “garbage heaps” as he put it, would become “wedded to the philosophy of force.”

Today, Eisenhower’s message is still very much relevant in a world where over 300 million children suffer from hunger. The Congress can take action to help these children by expanding the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program.

The McGovern-Dole program, named after former senators Bob Dole and George McGovern, provides school lunches to children in impoverished nations. For many kids the school lunches are the only meal they receive the entire day. The school lunches encourage parents to send their kids to school instead of keeping them home to work. Take-home rations are also a component of the initiative. Charities such as CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Food for the Poor and the United Nations World Food Programme carry out the school lunch programs.

Currently, McGovern-Dole reaches about 3 million children. But many school feeding proposals by the aforementioned charities are denied because there simply is not enough funding available. A House Bill (H.R. 1616) and a Senate version (S. 946) aim to increase the yearly funding for McGovern-Dole from 100 million to 300 million over the next 5 years.

The applications of a strongly funded McGovern-Dole program are numerous. More school lunches could be provided to children in Southern Sudan, a region recovering from decades of Civil War. In 2006, the World Food Programme conducted a pilot school feeding program in North Darfur. One can imagine school lunch programs being an important part of peacekeeping and reconstruction throughout Darfur. In Afghanistan, a country struggling to build a democracy and peace after years of conflict, school lunches are vital to reconstruction. The United States, with its allies, should ensure that every child in Afghanistan can obtain school lunches and take-home rations.

For the United States, providing school lunches around the world will build much needed goodwill in this age of terrorism.

As Eisenhower noted back in 1948, “If we are serious about saying that we want to travel the road to peace….how can we attempt to say that we are traveling that road unless we do everything that lies within our power to create conditions in which peace may flourish. We must eliminate starvation – we must see that children are well nourished.”

Today, we must ask ourselves if we are doing everything we can to promote peace. If we do not vigorously combat child hunger, then the answer to that question is no. Eliminating child hunger is of paramount importance in the quest for peace.

Expanding the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition program is taking a major step in the fight against child hunger. We must hope the opportunity is not missed by those in power today.

About William Lambers

William Lambers is the author of several books including Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World. This book features over 50 interviews with officials from the UN World Food Programme and other charities discussing school feeding programs that fight child hunger. He is also the author of Nuclear Weapons, The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Open Skies for Peace, The Spirit of the Marshall Plan: Taking Action Against World Hunger, School Lunches for Kids Around the World, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, From War to Peace and the Battle of Britain. He is also a writer for the History News Service. His articles have been published by newspapers including the Cincinnati Enquirer, Des Moines Register, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Buffalo News, San Diego Union Tribune, the Providence Journal, Free Lance-Star (VA), the Bakersfield Californian, the Washington Post, Miami Herald (FL), Chicago Sun-Times, the Patriot Ledger (MA), Charleston Sunday Gazette Mail (WV), the Cincinnati Post, Salt Lake Tribune (UT), North Adams Transcript (MA), Wichita Eagle (KS), Monterey Herald (CA), Athens Banner-Herald (GA) and the Duluth News Journal. His articles also appear on History News Network (HNN) and Think Africa Press. Mr. Lambers is a graduate of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Ohio with degrees in Liberal Arts (BA) and Organizational Leadership (MS). He is also a member of the Feeding America Blogger Council.
  • Christopher Rose

    MCH, I’m certain that you’re just the person to keep track of that…

  • Dave Nalle

    MCH is currently top of the leaderboard for most deleted comments.

    It would be cool if there was an actual leaderboard for deleted comments which we could check periodically.

    I was a little surprised to learn that “troll” and “stalker” are now regarded as personal attacks, considering how many times I’ve been called that.

    Perhaps they are only personal attacks when they aren’t as richly deserved as they are when applied to you?


  • Dave Nalle

    Who is this “we” you speak of, ego-boy?

    And let me remind you of a little history. I never said I shot and/or killed stray dogs behind my fortified compound. The feral dog I shot was in the front yard, and as I’ve pointed out, he didn’t die. I did shoot a squirrel in the back yard, but that’s a different story.

    And as I’ve said since you first brought up this ridiculous irrelevancy, I was under no obligation to serve in Desert Storm and had no interest in doing so, and that’s my right as an American. Then as now I don’t believe in military intervention as an instrument of foreign policy.


  • Silver Surfer

    What’s going on, apart from Australia 25-South Africa 17?

    Happy in Sydney

  • Dr Dreadful

    #54: Nothing much. Took a leaf out of the Yakut Indians’ book and scurried off to the mountains to escape the 112-degree heat. Now back, gratified to see that the level of commenting on here is its usual heated, er, 112 degrees.

    In other news, a Brit won the mixed doubles at Wimbledon. :-)

    Fried in Fresno

  • sr

    Doc, you live in Fresno. Thats like being stuck in Lodi and Modesto and all those other produce producing smog laden holes in the wall. Almost feel sorry for you.

  • bliffle

    Squirrels, too, now Dave? When will the slaughter end!? Can nothing stop this killing?

  • Dr Dreadful

    #56: Why ‘almost’? Air so thick you can spread it on your breakfast toast (not that you’d want to). If you walk into a schoolroom and talk about the big blue sky the kids look at you as if you’re crazy because everyone knows the sky is brown. But we do have the only university in America with its own winery.

    #57: My guess is he got hungry and spotted a quick snack opportunity.