This Thanksgiving, feed “silent guests” at your holiday meals by donating to the World Food Program (WFP) through FreeRice. Your guest represents one of the world’s 45 million people globally on the brink of starvation according to the latest news from the UN WFP.
Join Universities Fighting World Hunger as we begin the FreeRice Thanksgiving Challenge. Every correct answer you get playing FreeRice donates 10 grains of rice to WFP. The competition runs November 12-20 as part of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.
This Easter, we are in the midst of a horrific global hunger crisis that is fast escalating due to the war in Ukraine. As a major source of wheat, Ukraine is a lifeline for many poor countries. Without access to these precious resources, relief operations are hindered as global food prices continue to climb.
What can be done to address the hunger crisis? To cope with the shortages and higher prices, funding for global food aid programs can be increased. History shows us this can be done if we each sacrifice a little.
That’s what President Harry S. Truman did at Easter in 1946, a year that witnessed another major food crisis in the wake of World War II. Truman canceled the traditional Easter Egg Roll at the White House and cut back on the White House Easter dinner. Such symbolic actions of sacrifice provided an example for citizens to follow. Everyone needed to be involved to save enough food to send overseas to feed the hungry.
October 5th, 1947- Secretary of State George C. Marshall talks about hunger in Europe after World War II and food conservation. This was part of a special broadcast which included the first presidential address ever televised from the White House. See the video on YouTube.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) released a video today appealing for donations to feed Syrian war victims. The civil war, now in its 4th year, has left millions of Syrians displaced and in need of life-saving food from WFP.
On this day in history, Secretary of State George Marshall called upon Americans to fight the remaining enemy from World War II: hunger. Still reeling from the destruction of the war, nations in Europe were suffering food shortages.
Drought had struck that summer. Crops were ruined. The hunger crisis overseas intensified, threatening the recovery of Europe.
President Harry Truman formed the Citizen’s Food Committee to promote the saving of food. Marshall followed Truman’s speech earlier in the day with a statement of his own. Marshall said,
Every American, I am sure, will gladly share his bounty with the hungry men, women and children of Europe. Food is the very basis of all reconstruction. Hunger and insecurity are the worst enemies of peace. For recovery and political stability, Europe needs many things, but the most elemental, indispensable need is food.”
The fight against hunger was a critical aspect of the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe. For without food, there could be no reconstruction.
That winter the U.S. approved an interim food aid plan to feed France, Austria, and Italy. This food aid preceded the larger Marshall Plan, which was passed in 1948. Americans also donated food in the form of CARE packages and other instruments of humanitarian aid.
Marshall’s words are timeless, and we need to remember them today. We are facing a global hunger struggle, with the most refugees since World War II. Wars in Syria and Iraq increase the numbers of hungry daily. Food is essential to winning the peace today as it was after World War II.
On this day in history, October 1, 1947, President Harry Trumanhosted a special meeting at the White House about hunger. He met with the newly formed Citizen’s Food Committee.
Their goal was to stop the wasting of food. Europe was facing a desperate hunger crisis. The more food saved meant the more that could be sent overseas to feed the hungry.
The Citizen’s Food Committee was led by Charles Luckman, the President of Lever Brothers of Massachusetts. Their job was to take the message of no food waste to the American public. Truman said,
It has been estimated that we waste about 10 percent of all the food we buy. Just think of that! We waste 10 percent of all the food we buy. Clearly, by wasting less, American families can help significantly in feeding hungry families abroad.”
The Committee helped to raise awareness about food waste, but also hunger across the globe. In the coming months Americans would donate lots of food overseas through events such as the Friendship Train. Going coast to coast the Train picked up canned goods to be shipped to Europe.
Defeating hunger was essential for building peace after the war. These are timeless lessons that Truman stressed as he sought the recovery of war-torn nations. At the White House meeting Truman emphasized,
Apart from humanitarian considerations, if rations are significantly cut this winter, economic rehabilitation will come to a stop. This, in turn, would increase the degree and duration of dependence by other nations on special assistance by the United States. Most important, if we turn our backs upon these people they will turn from hunger to despair and from despair to chaos in areas where stability is essential to the peace and economic security of the world.”
Food served as the foundation of the 1948 Marshall Plan, which ultimately rebuilt Europe. We need to remember these lessons today. Food can lead to peace and economic development. As war has engulfed the Middle East and Africa there are millions of refugees who are depending on international food aid.
Back here at home we can fight hunger more effectively by wasting less food. Schools and food banks have developed recovery programs to cut down on this waste. There are ways we can more effectively fight hunger, as Truman prioritized on this day in history.
Elizabeth (Biz) is going to run and raise money for a food called Plumpy’Nut that saves the lives of starving children around the world. For every minute Biz runs through December 14, I will make a donation to Edesia, a non-profit organization that produces the Plumpy’Nut.
Each donation will buy a Plumpy’Nut meal (about 33 cents) which consists of a peanut paste fortified with crucial nutrients for children under the age of five. Without these nutrients small children can suffer lasting physical and mental damage.
Plumpy’Nut (as well as its variations like Plumpy’Sup) are currently being used in emergencies such as the conflicts in Syria, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Plumpy’Nut, which comes in a packet, is a food that can be easily distributed in these dangerous areas as it requires no refrigeration or preparation. In crisis areas there is a race against time to reach the hungry and especially the smallest children as they are the most vulnerable.
When the massive famine and drought struck East Africa last year it was Plumpy’Nut that saved many lives. When famine threatened the Sahel region of Africa this year Plumpy’Nut was again called into action. Edesia, which was recently featured on New England’s Chronicle TV show, produces Plumpy’Nut for aid groups like the World Food Programme, UNICEF, and others to use in the field.
Biz is a member of the Leadership Pathways program at the College of Mount St. Joseph, and is an activist fighting hunger. She will log her miles at Mount St. Joseph’s indoor track. I hope others will sponsor her running too and make the donations to Edesia as I am. This will make an inspired holiday gift. I am already counting her runs both Tuesday and Wednesday of 40 minutes each to the tally. So please join in.
One of this year’s World Food Prize winners is H.E. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the former President of Brazil. His work fighting hunger included developing the national school feeding program. An excerpt from the World Food Prize web site reads:
“The national School Feeding Program has had a far-reaching impact on reducing child malnutrition by providing nutritious meals to children in all grades of Brazil’s public schools across the country. Forty-seven million were being served in 2010, with a minimum of 30 percent of the food supplied from local farms. Child malnutrition fell 61.9 percent between 2003 and 2009, and all age groups experienced improved access to quality food.”
Brazil has come a a long way in its fight against hunger and developing its school feeding. Back in the 1960s Brazil got help from the U.S. Food for Peace program. Here is a photo of a milk shipment leaving for Brazil. George McGovern, a World Food Prize winner himself, is to the far right.
1962 Photo of the largest milk donation under the “Food for Peace” program leaving from Brooklyn, NY heading toward Brazil. Left to right is the Brazilian ambassador Roberto de Oliveira Campos; Capt. Timothy Harrington and George McGovern, the Food for Peace director. The milk will be used for maternal feeding and the school lunch program. (Library of Congress)