According to the World Food Program, some 925 million people do not have enough to eat, and one in four children in the developing world are underweight. The United States has always been a moral leader in helping to eradicate hunger and poverty around the globe, and doing so in a cost-effective manner. While Congress seeks to reduce spending, budget cuts ought not to come at the expense of children and their families who regularly go to bed hungry.
If all food aid were cut tomorrow, what would that mean to the U.S. effort to reduce federal deficit?
While many Americans believe that up to 25% of the federal budget is spent on foreign aid, the U.S. spends less than one percent of its resources on poverty-focused foreign aid. And of that, about ten percent is spent on food aid. To put that in perspective, for every one dollar that the U.S. government spends, roughly one-tenth of one penny goes towards food aid.
Completely eliminating food aid would do virtually nothing to impact either our debt or deficit. And it would not relieve Congress of the need to make the difficult choices required to alleviate the debt crisis. As Congress decides exactly where to make cuts, we urge them to do what’s right for children. Disproportionate and unjustified cuts not only hurt children today, they put our future at risk and move America further away from its values.
How can someone best advocate for preventing these cuts to international food aid?
The best way to help prevent these cuts is to get in touch with Congress and let them know that programs that fight hunger and poverty are important. Individuals can call, write, email, or tweet their members of Congress and ask that they protect funding for international hunger- and poverty-fighting programs. Communication from constituents is critical to building support for programs that protect children and families across the globe, and help build a more stable and healthy world. Several organizations are involved in working with Congress and their staff to educate them on the importance of these programs, including Save the Children, CARE, Bread for the World, World Vision, Oxfam America, and others.