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CRS wants McGovern-Dole Expanded to Fight World Hunger

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Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has a long history of supporting school meals around the world, dating back to the World War II era. Now CRS is calling on Congress to fund the McGovern-Dole global school meals program at $250 million dollars this year. Previous funding levels are around $200 million.

School meals make foreign policy sense. Sean Callahan of CRS recently stated before Congress, “Education and nutrition are inextricably linked to future economic growth.”

That is why CRS wants to see the McGovern-Dole initiative expanded. Haiti, Afghanistan and many other countries need support for school feeding. In Mali, where conflict and drought have devastated the lives of millions, school meals are a big part of aiding children.

McGovern-Dole funding is allowing CRS to provide school meals in war-devastated Mali, where poverty rates are high. (Kristina Brayman/CRS)  

CRS received a McGovern-Dole grant for Mali and it’s making a difference. At last report, CRS is “currently serving 310 schools in two regions and approximately 58,000 beneficiaries.” CRS provides meals as well as vitamins and medications to the school children.

Callahan adds, “The program has helped to increase school enrollment for girls by 41% and for boys by 22%. On average, students attended school 95% of the days classes were held.”

The CRS Mali program also has elements of local food production for providing the meals. This is key. Where possible, the food for school meals needs to come from local sources. This helps communities and furthers the stability of the program so that continued aid is not needed.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) also is providing school meals in Mali. The UN food agency relies on voluntary funding but often struggles to receive it. Expanding McGovern-Dole, for instance, could allow an opportunity to support WFP and its school feeding in Mali.

The Congress will have an opportunity to increase the McGovern-Dole funding in the upcoming Farm Bill legislation.

Video: Ending Child Hunger, School Lunches for Kids Around the World.

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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.
  • bliffle

    Here’s the political problem: “Now CRS is calling on Congress to fund the McGovern-Dole global school meals program at $250 million dollars this year”. Seems like a piddling amount of money considering the trillions spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and considering he tens of billions wasted in “rebuilding” Iraq and Afghanistan (most of which money was repatriated to American millionaires pockets through an efficient system of graft and corruption).

    But there is a sizeable cadre of partisans in the US congress that firmly believes that US interests abroad are better served by trillions spent on military force than by a few millions spent on food. And that holds regardless of the futility of our wars and the history of good will returned from our various Marshall Plans.

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