A new short film, Ending Child Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World, is a call to action to end the hunger that afflicts 300 million children worldwide. The United States, building upon its tradition of fighting hunger, can lead the international community in making sure every child can receive a school lunch.
The film begins by showing school lunch programs in Austria and Germany following World War II. It was those meals that were crucial to the recovery of Europe since they gave children nourishment, education, and hope. According to the World Food Programme director Josette Sheeran, "The goodwill done during post-World War II from Japan to Germany, France, Scandinavia and beyond helped build goodwill and stability for a generation." Sheeran, speaking at the International Food Aid Conference, added that a simple cup of food for children "has the power to transform lives" and that "throughout many decades, for children this becomes their most precious possession."
Today, millions of children in countries like Afghanistan, Kenya, Haiti, and Sudan are in need of food that will change their lives and build the backbone of peace and progress for their country.
The McGovern-Dole Food for Education program is highlighted as crucial to this effort.
McGovern-Dole is a U.S. government program that funds school lunch programs in impoverished countries. School lunch programs offer a calm in the storm of soaring food prices in developing nations. Having children ensured a meal at school is a valuable safety net for poor families.
But the rising global food prices are threatening the ability of the United Nations World Food Programme and other charities to continue to provide these meals to children. Further efforts to expand existing programs to reach more needy children are also seriously jeopardized by the global food crisis.
School lunch programs are directly in the path of what the World Food Programme calls the "silent tsunami" of escalating food prices. The World Food Programme may be forced to suspend school lunches for 450,000 children in Cambodia unless new funding is found. Many more food aid programs are at risk.
Charities like World Vision, CARE, Food for the Poor, and the World Food Programme carry out school lunch initiatives via McGovern-Dole funding. The Congress is currently considering whether to increase funding for the McGovern-Dole program as part of this year's Farm Bill, with a final decision expected shortly.
The film also includes the Stara School in Kenya, which is run by the charity ChildsLife International. ChildsLife International hopes to expand school feeding projects in the Kibera slum in Kenya.
PTV Productions of Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, produced the video and veteran voice-over talent Craig Burnett provided the narration. For more information about the film please contact the World Food Programme Committee of Ohio.