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Senate Committee Cuts Mandatory Funding for Global School Lunch Program

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The Senate Agriculture Committee recently voted to cut mandatory funding for McGovern-Dole on the 2007 Farm Bill. This is the program that provides school lunches to children in impoverished countries. Within weeks the Farm Bill will be finalized and if the Senate Agriculture Committee’s decision stands, McGovern-Dole will suffer a setback in building a global school lunch program.

Countries like Afghanistan, Kenya, and Pakistan all benefit from school lunch programs sponsored by McGovern-Dole. School lunches not only fight child hunger, but also increase school attendance and performance rates. With healthier, educated children nations are more likely to progress and build peaceful, stable societies.

Charities like Catholic Relief Services, C.A.R.E, Food for the Poor and the UN World Food Program carry out the school lunch programs. With 300 million children suffering from hunger there is a tremendous need for school lunch initiatives in developing countries. However, most of the McGovern-Dole applications by the aforementioned charities are denied by the United States Department of Agriculture. There is simply not enough funding allocated by Congress to McGovern-Dole.

This summer the House of Representatives sought to change that by approving mandatory funding for McGovern-Dole, increasing its annual budget from the present 100 million to 300 million over the next 5 years. A guaranteed minimum level of funding would be provided each year giving the program security. The mandatory increase would be a commitment to providing more school lunches to children in developing countries. It would be a show of U.S. leadership in building a global school lunch program by assuring a consistent level of financial support. Certainly in countries like Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti and Burundi there is going to be a need for school lunch programs as part of the reconstruction of society.

The Senate Agriculture Committee went against the House in late October when drafting its version of the Farm Bill. The Senate Committee removed the mandatory language and decided to make McGovern-Dole spending a year-by-year decision, leaving the future of the school lunch program in doubt.

As the Farm Bill is finalized in the coming weeks, there is going to be debate in the Senate about McGovern-Dole and other issues. It is not too late to change the outcome for the school lunch program. The Friends of the UN World Food Program is urging citizens to contact their Senators about giving mandatory funding to the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program.

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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.
  • moonraven

    Nothing new here.

    Just savage capitalism in action.

    Shock and awe and death and aimed at the most vulnerable population group on the planet: children.

    Yuk it up you mean-spirited gringo savages!

  • Lumpy

    Let’s set the record straight here. The farm bill actually increases the domestic school lunch program and WIC program by about $2 billion.

  • http://rapturenutballs.blogspot.com Baritone

    We can’t be supplying funds to feed all those mongrel kids when we need the money to kill more Iraqis. We gotta keep our priorities in line.

    B-tone

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    How about we make feeding American kids our priority, Baritone? Subsidizing the meals of kids around the world whose hunger is caused largely by the meddling of NGOs and international aid organizations is the wrong response to the problem. It’s just throwing more money down the hole. What we need to do is help those countries achieve agricultural self-sufficiency and remove their dependence on international aid.

    dave

  • moonraven

    Nalle–the great philanthropist: what are YOU doing to feed hungry kids in West Texas?

  • Joe

    moonravenNalle–the great philanthropist: what are YOU doing to feed hungry kids in West Texas?

    Uh, paying his taxes?

  • moonraven

    I doubt that very much. Nalle would have us believe that he is a libertarian, and they do not pay taxes.

    Besides, in Texas all that money goes to free market capitalists, not to feed kids.

  • Joe

    moonraven – Libertarians don’t pay taxes? Damn, I’m switching over!