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Fight Hunger at Home and Abroad in Farm Bill

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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.

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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.
  • http://www.lunch.com/JSMaresca-Reviews-1-1.html Dr. Joseph S. Maresca

    Read “Food First” by Lappe’.

  • Igor

    But if we feed hunger at home and abroad won’t that dry up some of the food demand that’s driving my mutual funds to new highs? They’ve got a lot invested in Monsanto and Conagra, etc., and I don’t want to lose dividends just because of some do-gooders!

  • Irene Athena

    Igor, neither Monsanto nor Conagra are worried about the Farm Bill…and, yes I know you are writing sarcastically. :)

    Monsanto with (immense lobbying power) ensures that any food-subsidizing bill will keep developing countries dependent on them for food forever. How? Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds will yield sterile plants, requiring farmers to keep coming back for seeds every year. And eventually these farmers will be driven completely out of business because…

    …Conagra isn’t worried about drying up food demand, either. When huge agribusinesses are subsidized to produce the consumable resource of food for the world in perpetuity, they can create a food surplus, “dumping” the excess on starving nations, competing with and driving out of business third world farmers, further degrading third world economies. (Not to mention the damage subsidy of agribusiness does domestically to smaller farmers.)

    That’s neo-liberalism. Capitalists at their absolute moral nadir, dressed up as “do-gooders.”

    Sadly, a lot of money we spend over-seas is dressed up as “foreign aid,” whereas the only long-term beneficiaries are corporations, whether they’re producing bombs or genetically modified seeds. Case in point:

    William Lamberts is correct when he writes: “Annual spending on nuclear weapons for instance would beat Food for Peace and TEFAP by close to $50 billion.” And looking beyond that to the amount spent on the military in general, including foreign military aid, the amount that could be used to help third world countries develop locally SUSTAINABLE food supplies is dwarfed even further.