Yesterday, I spoke to a great class at the College of Mount St. Joseph about the fight against hunger, both at home and abroad. We talked about proposed budget cuts in the Congress to food aid programs.
Here are food aid programs at risk of budget cuts:
Domestic Food Aid:
TEFAP: The Emergency Food Assistance Program which supports food bank across the country. If funding is reduced there will be less support at a time of high unemployment when more families need the support of food banks.
WIC- Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants and Children.
Vicki Escarra of Feeding America says, “As Congress and the Administration look for ways to reduce the federal deficit, it is more critical than ever to protect funding for nutrition programs that provide the first line of defense against hunger in America.”
International Food Aid:
Food for Peace: This is the primary tool the U.S. has in fighting global hunger. This program was started during the Eisenhower administration and has saved countless lives and promoted stability worldwide.
McGovern-Dole program: This is geared toward international school meals. Agencies like Catholic Relief Services, World Food Program and others apply for McGovern-Dole funding to run school lunch programs in developing countries.
Here is an excerpt from an interview I did with Nora O’Connell of Save the Children discussing international food aid:
“For every one dollar that the U.S. government spends, roughly one-tenth of one penny goes towards food aid.
Completely eliminating food aid would do virtually nothing to impact either our debt or deficit. And it would not relieve Congress of the need to make the difficult choices required to alleviate the debt crisis. As Congress decides exactly where to make cuts, we urge them to do what’s right for children. Disproportionate and unjustified cuts not only hurt children today, they put our future at risk and move America further away from its values.
The best way to help prevent these cuts is to get in touch with Congress and let them know that programs that fight hunger and poverty are important. Individuals can call, write, email, or tweet their members of Congress and ask that they protect funding for international hunger- and poverty-fighting programs. Communication from constituents is critical to building support for programs that protect children and families across the globe, and help build a more stable and healthy world.”
You can reach your elected officials by visiting www.house.gov and www.senate.gov. You can let them know what you expect them to be doing about food aid both at home and abroad.
Catholic Relief Services says “Your action is particularly important now because the funding levels for FY 2012 will become the template for decisions about how much the U.S. invests in life-saving poverty-focused assistance for the next decade. Your voice is critical now to support poverty-focused international assistance so that life-changing and life-saving interventions can continue to reach those who need it most.”