Tag Archives: Farm Bill

Another Voice: Americans have a chance to reduce world hunger

Congress will soon be voting on the new farm bill legislation. At that time, funding for programs that fight hunger locally and globally will be decided.

You may have seen in the news the typhoon in the Philippines that left millions without homes and food. In Syria, war has killed children not only because of the fighting, but because of malnutrition caused by the conflict. Food shortages are always the companion of war and disasters. Farming areas are often destroyed in these tragedies.

Read the full commentary in The Buffalo News

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Q and A: Save the Children on Farm Bill’s Food for Peace

 

Read the Q and A at Examiner.com

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

 

Read the full article at Yahoo! Voices

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Farm Bill Should Fight Hunger

Congress is threatening to cut international food aid.

Congress is threatening to cut food aid in the Farm Bill.

We need a Farm Bill that fights hunger in America and preserves the food stamp (SNAP) program. There are millions of Americans struggling because of unemployment and low wages. Yet, SNAP cuts took effect November 1st and more might be on the way depending what Congress does.

Feeding America’s Bob Aiken says, “We’ve seen throughout our network of food banks the impact that these cuts are already beginning to have — with longer lines and an anticipated growth in need. Our food banks are stretched and charity alone can’t make up for this cut to federal assistance”

Cuts to food stamps is not going to create jobs and higher wages. In fact, it will harm hungry Americans and grocers where the stamps are redeemed. Part of the House proposal on SNAP also includes eliminating free school meals for 210,000 children. Why is nutrition and education being cut?

The Farm Bill is equally important for our foreign policy. The U.S. Food for Peace initiative is the single largest donor to the UN World Food Program, which fights hunger in over 70 countries.

Food for Peace donations feed people in the Philippines, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Yemen, Haiti, Mali and many other countries. With so many wars and disasters ongoing more food is desperately needed. Children are starving in these countries.

They are not asking for much. They just want a life-saving treatment of Plumpy’Nut to prevent the irreversible effects of malnutrition. Or a child whose life could be changed if there could be a school meal. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UN had to cut school meals and nutrition for children because of low funds.

As George Marshall once said, “hunger and insecurity are the worst enemies of peace.” That philosophy guided U.S. foreign policy during our Greatest Generation. Food was the driver of writing the peace. It should be that way today too.

Congress has to get its act together and pass a Farm Bill with a strong Food for Peace program. This should include local purchase of food as was done recently when a donation allowed WFP to buy rice from farmers in the Philippines.

The McGovern-Dole global school lunch effort also needs a boost. There are millions of hungry children whose lives could be changed by some school meals.

We can’t just drift along pretending there is not a major world hunger crisis ongoing that is a danger to everyone’s security.

Domestically, Congress needs to strengthen our nutrition programs. Our food banks need support as they help hungry Americans get back on their feet. Congress has to realize this and finish a responsible Farm Bill.

article originally published at The Huffington Post.

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Congress Must Rescue Food Stamp Program

Congress is threatening to cut international food aid.

Congress is threatening to cut food aid.

Congress can make or break our fight against hunger at home and overseas. Both food stamps, to help impoverished Americans, and the global Food for Peace program are on the line in Farm Bill meetings starting this week.

With over 49 million Americans suffering from hunger, and high unemployment rates, it makes no sense to cut back the food stamp (SNAP) program. Yet on November 1 there will be reductions in SNAP and more may be coming. The House of Representatives is proposing nearly $ 40 billion dollars worth of cuts in SNAP. Their plan also calls for the elimination of free school meals for over 200,000 children.

Where will hungry Americans go for help? They will look to food banks, but these are already overstretched and cannot make up the difference. The economy is suffering and hunger will escalate in America if Congress dismantles food safety nets.

Bob Aiken, the CEO of Feeding America says, “We anticipate that, faced with this sudden drop in their monthly food budget, many people who receive SNAP benefits will seek additional help from our food banks and the agencies they serve. Unfortunately, our food banks across the nation continue to be stretched thin in their efforts to meet sustained high need in the wake of the recession.”

Food stamps have a history of helping Americans living in poverty. In 1939 food stamps were first introduced to help low-income families. Studies showed the needy were getting more nutritious foods as a result. Grocers liked the plan because the stamps were redeemed to buy food at their stores.

As America entered World War II, food stamps were seen as vital for keeping the whole nation strong. In 1943, because Americans were back at work in large part, the need for food stamps ended. Secretary of Agriculture Claude Wickard called the program “an outstanding success.” The U.S. did continue food aid with school lunch programs and relief for the handicapped and elderly during these war years.

Today, Congress wants to roll back food stamps before economic recovery has taken place. Their plan puts more strain on the nation’s hungry and food bank system. Their plan takes away school meals. What they should do is strengthen the food stamp plan and the Federal Emergency Food Assistance (TEFAP) program which supports food banks. When jobs and wages start to return then take up large reductions in food stamps.

The Food for Peace program is also a major part of the Farm Bill. Congress has to decide the level of funding. Food for Peace supports hunger relief in Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Haiti, Mali, Yemen and many other countries. It’s an extension of Wickard’s World War II philosophy that “Food will win the war and write the peace.”

No country or region will have stability if it suffers from malnutrition. That is why Food for Peace, as well as the McGovern-Dole global school lunch plan, need support in Congress. As Dwight Eisenhower said, hungry children scrapping in garbage heaps cannot be expected to become apostles of peace. We need to wage war against hunger and want. Food for Peace is the largest supplier of the UN World Food Programme, the lead hunger fighting organization.

International food aid makes up less than one tenth of one percent of the federal budget. So there is no savings to cost cut here. What cuts would do is sink our foreign policy.

Congress has a lot on its plate as it starts back to work. Decisions in the coming weeks can drastically impact the hungry here at home and abroad. That will be a legacy of this Congress, how it responds to these difficult times.

Americans must continue to give their input as to how to run things. Leadership can come from any corner. Now is the stretch run for the Farm Bill. As Amelia Kegan, a policy analyst for Bread for the World says, “It’ll be an intense period, but as you well know, this is often the most important part of any race.”

Originally published at the Huffington Post

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Fight Hunger at Home and Abroad in Farm Bill

Congress will decide budget amounts for food aid programs at home and abroad in the upcoming Farm Bill Credits: World Food Program USA

This week foodbanks across the country will be distributing food rations to the needy. Also this week a shipment from the U.S. Food for Peace program arrived in conflict-torn and impoverished Yemen. What do these two programs have in common besides fighting hunger?

Both initiatives depend on funding from federal programs in the upcoming Farm Bill legislation. Many food banks benefit from The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) which sends donations to states for foodbanks to distribute. The Food for Peace program fights hunger overseas as a way to promote stability worldwide.

Congress will be deciding in the coming days how much to fund both of these hunger-fighting plans. Now is the time for people to let their representatives in government know that fighting hunger needs to be a priority of both our domestic and foreign policies.

Food is the basis of all things. Children in America suffering from hunger cannot learn and become the best they can be. Food can be a difference-maker for a child and his or her family, a safety net when tough economic times come.

Overseas, food is life-saving in areas of conflict and natural disaster, of which there are many ongoing – in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria and elsewhere. When the conflicts end, food can give people and communities the stability they need to rebuild and make peace. Food can also make the difference there whether a child attends and finishes school.

While the face of hunger may be different from one country to the next, it is vitally important to combat the menace wherever it may be.

Ensuring funding for TEFAP and Food for Peace as well as the McGovern-Dole international school meals program are steps we can take without breaking the bank. Food aid programs are relatively inexpensive when compared to other programs. Annual spending on nuclear weapons for instance would beat Food for Peace and TEFAP by close to $50 billion.

There is enough food in the world to feed everyone, so why not fight hunger at home and abroad? This year’s Farm Bill is a great place to start by supporting TEFAP and Food for Peace.

Article first published as Fight Hunger at Home and Abroad in Farm Bill on Blogcritics.

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