This week foodbanks across the country will be distributing food rations to the needy. Also this week a shipment from the U.S. Food for Peace program arrived in conflict-torn and impoverished Yemen. What do these two programs have in common besides fighting hunger?
Both initiatives depend on funding from federal programs in the upcoming Farm Bill legislation. Many food banks benefit from The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) which sends donations to states for foodbanks to distribute. The Food for Peace program fights hunger overseas as a way to promote stability worldwide.
Congress will be deciding in the coming days how much to fund both of these hunger-fighting plans. Now is the time for people to let their representatives in government know that fighting hunger needs to be a priority of both our domestic and foreign policies.
Food is the basis of all things. Children in America suffering from hunger cannot learn and become the best they can be. Food can be a difference-maker for a child and his or her family, a safety net when tough economic times come.
Overseas, food is life-saving in areas of conflict and natural disaster, of which there are many ongoing – in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria and elsewhere. When the conflicts end, food can give people and communities the stability they need to rebuild and make peace. Food can also make the difference there whether a child attends and finishes school.
While the face of hunger may be different from one country to the next, it is vitally important to combat the menace wherever it may be.
Ensuring funding for TEFAP and Food for Peace as well as the McGovern-Dole international school meals program are steps we can take without breaking the bank. Food aid programs are relatively inexpensive when compared to other programs. Annual spending on nuclear weapons for instance would beat Food for Peace and TEFAP by close to $50 billion.
There is enough food in the world to feed everyone, so why not fight hunger at home and abroad? This year's Farm Bill is a great place to start by supporting TEFAP and Food for Peace.