This week the Senate will be considering how much funding to give to the Food for Peace program, our main tool in the fight against global hunger. It’s vital the Senate give full support to Food for Peace.
For if you are looking to have a cost-efficient and effective foreign policy, then look no further than Food for Peace. We know this plan works.
Food for Peace was essentially born out of the World War II era where the famous motto was, “Food will win the war and write the peace.” Every CARE package, Friendship Train, or people taking in a silent guest at their home on Thanksgiving was food for peace in action.
The Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe stood on a foundation of food. These post-war actions paved the way toward the official launch of Food for Peace (Public Law 480) in 1954 by President Dwight Eisenhower. President Kennedy continued and strengthened Food for Peace, showing the bipartisan support for the initiative.
But today there is a different tune. Amid all the talk of budget cuts, Food for Peace has been placed on the cutting block. Some members of the House have proposed eliminating all funding for the program. Others want to keep funding levels at 1.69 billion, which is relatively inexpensive compared to other foreign policy expenditures.
Hunger-fighting programs make up less than one tenth of one percent of the federal budget. In short, Food for Peace is not the cause of our spending problems.
What Food for Peace does is it combats hunger and gives hope for peace and stability. Peace cannot be founded on empty stomachs. Whether it’s Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, or Haiti, they all share one thing in common: the need for food for healthy generations of children.
The Senate could cut Food for Peace and its partner program Mcgovern-Dole just to save a few dollars. But that would be ill-advised foreign policy.
What Eisenhower said in 1959 holds true today. Food is essential so that “our bodies may be fit for every task and duty and service; our minds free from the fear of hunger; our eyes undimmed by the tragedies of famine, searching out new horizons; our aspirations not frustrated by failure of crop or catastrophe of weather.”
The world’s nearly 1 billion hungry people wonder each day where their next meal will come from. We cannot just skip over this crisis because of tough times domestically, for withdrawing from the fight against hunger will pose grave consequences.
Reducing food aid will threaten millions of lives and will help create desperation among people that will lead to a dangerous instability. The chaos caused by hunger is powerful enough to topple governments.
The Senate needs to stand united and fight global hunger with Food for Peace.
See the World Food Program USA take action page for supporting Food for Peace.
See also Bringing Dems and Reps Together over Food (Bakersfield Californian 1/9/2011)