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U.S. Food for Peace Plan Needs Support in Congress

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Media-Rotator-Syria-Jan2013-280x280The horrific numbers increase daily from the war in Syria. The UN now says that 6.3 million Syrians need life-saving food aid. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) requires $2 billion to feed them in 2014. If this war continues, these numbers will go up again.

“This is the worst humanitarian crisis that we have seen in decades, with every day more vulnerable Syrians pushed into hunger,” says Muhannad Hadi, Syria coordinator for WFP.

The U.S. Congress needs to act and boost our Food for Peace program to meet this Syrian emergency as well as others. As the new year approaches, the Philippines, Central African Republic, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan have been struck by conflict or natural disasters.

The Farm Bill legislation, which Congress will take up again in January, is where Food for Peace funding is decided.

WFP depends on Food for Peace as its largest single donor. It’s crucial that Congress support Food for Peace when you consider the ongoing humanitarian emergencies.World Food Day

David Kauck of Save the Children points out that reforms to Food for Peace must also be passed. “These changes would include eliminating restrictions on the use of local and regional food procurement; repealing inefficient shipping requirements; and scaling down food aid monetization over a period of time, accompanied by an equivalent increase in development assistance.”

When a disaster occurs, such as the typhoon in the Philippines, aid groups can sometimes use local food sources to feed those in need. Aid groups must have no restrictions on using this option.

Kauck adds, “Early research shows that the reforms could provide considerable cost savings resulting in more aid to more children, greater flexibility to use the most appropriate approach available to assist people in need, and faster humanitarian response times.”

The Farm Bill impacts both our domestic and foreign policies. A strong Farm Bill feeds the hungry both at home and abroad. Only in this way can we be strong as a nation, and also further global peace and stability.

Food aid is the only thing that will save children from damaging and even deadly malnutrition. Food is a force that can help restore peace.

We also know there is enough food on the planet for everyone, and no one, especially children, should be without.

Let’s remember that our decisions on food aid policy can change lives and make or break an entire generation in whole countries and regions. So let’s take the right action on the Farm Bill. Let us choose 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.
  • Dr Joseph S Maresca

    Add to this implementation of President Truman’s “Victory Garden” program and “Roof Farms” throughout NYC. These programs have people growing their own food.

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