Tag Archives: McGovern-Dole program

Haiti losing key funding for school meals

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) said today that it’s losing funding for its school meals program in Haiti. WFP is the leading organization fighting hunger in Haiti and almost 70 other countries.

Read the full article at Examiner.com

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You Can Help McGovern-Dole School Meals Campaign

The presidential campaigns of former senators George McGovern (1972) and Bob Dole (1996) have long taken residence in the history books. However, one campaign they started continues even after McGovern’s passing. It’s fighting world hunger by providing school meals to hungry children.

You can help this campaign by asking Congress to support the McGovern-Dole Food for Education program. This initiative, run by the U.S. Dept of Agriculture, provides school meals to hungry children around the world.

Read the full article at The Huffington Post.

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Dole Reminds Us How Dems-Reps Can Work Together Against Hunger

biden_dole_3_0Former Senator Bob Dole received the George McGovern Leadership Award this week for his efforts to fight world hunger. Vice President Biden presented him the award at a ceremony hosted by the World Food Program U.S.A. in Washington, D.C.

Dole reminds us how Democrats and Republicans can actually work together, something they hardly ever do now. Dole formed a great partnership with former Senator George McGovern and the result was policies and programs that fed millions of children.

Biden said of Dole: “I think he exposed, for the first time, the long-term consequences of children not having the right nutrition.”

Dole served with the U.S. military in World War II in Italy. Incidentally, this was one of the countries that benefited from millions of school meals from the United States, both during and after the war.

U.S. Army and relief officials discussed plans on how distributing food at Italian schools would fight hunger and boost class attendance at the same time.

The Greatest Generation understood how important food and nutrition was not just for the U.S. but for overseas. They understood its importance for peace. McGovern and Dole were two of the leaders that emerged from this generation. A global school lunch program is named after them. The duo won the World Food Prize in 2008 for their teamwork against hunger.

The McGovern-Dole Food for Education program is currently feeding children in conflict-torn Mali, Haiti, Ethiopia, Kenya and other countries. The program funds the UN World Food Programme (WFP), Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children and other aid agencies who distribute the meals. McGovern-Dole is also part of the Farm Bill, a legislation where Democrats and Republicans are not seeing eye to eye.

No agreement is likely this year on the Farm Bill, which decides funding for nutrition programs both here and overseas. It’s a critical piece of legislation in the fight against hunger. The U.S. Food for Peace program is part of the Farm Bill. Food for Peace is the largest supporter of WFP, which feeds the hungry in over seventy countries.

This impasse in D.C. is the last thing we need with hunger escalating at home. Overseas, wars and disasters in Syria, the Philippines, the Central African Republic, Sudan, South Sudan and many other countries is creating hunger emergencies. Aid groups are unable to keep up.

If the U.S. Congress does not pass legislation supporting international food aid, then hunger and chaos will worsen overseas.

As Congress works on the Farm Bill they need to capture the approach of Dole and his generation. They need to take action against hunger and do so in a bipartisan approach. Congress should support domestic and international food aid on the Farm Bill.

Dole said when receiving his award: ” It should be our aspiration to aim higher and to strive harder to make the world a better place for millions of hungry children around the world.”

originally published at the Huffington Post

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Summer Meals Should be for all Children

The Dept. of Agriculture is trying to expand summer feeding throughout the country (courtesy USDA)

The Dept. of Agriculture is trying to expand summer feeding throughout the country (courtesy USDA)

Summer is here and time for relaxation. But for millions of needy children across the United States, it is the summer months when they are most vulnerable to hunger.

During the school year children have access to the federal school lunch and breakfast programs. This is a major safety net for families who need a little to help to get by during tough times. When school is out these meals sadly disappear for many.

The Food Research and Action Center states, “for every seven low-income students who depended on the National School Lunch Program during the regular 2011-2012 school year, only one child received summer meals in July 2012.”

Some U.S. counties do not even have a summer feeding site. So there is a huge gap in the U.S. child feeding program that will need innovation from both the public and the government to fix. In Cincinnati, Ohio, for example, public libraries are helping out as locations for distributing summer meals. More summer feeding sites, or other delivery methods, need to be established and there has to be adequate funding.

Summer meals for children are also missing in Haiti, where food is desperately needed. A series of storms and drought have damaged food production in an already impoverished country. The UN World Food Programme, which depends on voluntary funding, did not receive enough to provide summer feeding in Haiti nor a program for take home rations to help needy families.

The U.S. McGovern-Dole global school meals program is helping in Haiti as well as other countries including Mali and Afghanistan, but it needs to be expanded. Unfortunately, funding for McGovern-Dole is at risk as members of Congress are threatening cuts to food aid. This despite the fact that food aid makes up less than one tenth of one percent of the federal budget.

The program was named after the two former senators, George McGovern and Bob Dole, who during World War II witnessed the devastating effect of hunger on children and understood the importance of these initiatives in the global scene.

We should expect our representatives in Congress to make feeding the hungry overseas a top foreign policy priority.

Summer meals, both here at home and abroad, should be for all children. It’s a real test of our character as a society, do we care for the next generation and give them a helping hand.

In the United States you can call 1-866-3-HUNGRY or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (for Spanish speakers) to find the closest summer feeding sites or visit www.whyhunger.org/findfood.

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Where are the School Meals?

Emergency school feeding in Mali through the World Food Programme. Cuts by Congress to food aid could harm this program. (WFP/Daouda Guirou)

Emergency school feeding in Mali through the World Food Programme. Cuts by Congress to food aid could harm this program. (WFP/Daouda Guirou)

We know that globally there is a huge need for school lunch programs to fight child hunger. Yet, it’s the middle of June and there’s still no word on which countries will receive grants from the U.S. McGovern-Dole school lunch program. Last year the announcement took place in April and the previous year in May.

The McGovern-Dole program is run by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA). However, the program is constantly under stress from potential funding cuts by Congress.

Bread for the World reported earlier this year that “234,000 children will have reduced or denied access to school feeding programs under the McGovern-Dole program” as a result of the sequestration cuts. It is believed that the sequestration is causing the delay in the announcement of the school feeding grants. The longer the delay, the longer hungry and malnourished children have to wait for the meals.

Aid groups, including Catholic Relief Services and the World Food Program USA, want funding for McGovern-Dole increased. They see the positive effects this program has in countries that are suffering from disasters, war, or long-standing poverty. This year’s Farm Bill legislation is the perfect opportunity to increase the level of funding and allow for more school meals in Afghanistan, Mali, Haiti and other countries where needs are massive.

WFP USA says it “has included an ask for McGovern-Dole of $300 million for FY14 in our overall global hunger and nutrition recommendations. Providing $300 million a year for McGovern-Dole would allow this program to reach 10% of the hungry school-aged children in need, increasing their nutritional status and increasing school attendance, especially for girls.” Recent funding levels for McGovern-Dole are around the $200 million mark.

Here in the United States the National School Lunch program is meant to fight off child hunger.

But what happens when summer arrives and schools close? The lunches are disappearing for many children. The Food and Research Action Center (FRAC) just released a report showing a huge gap in feeding coverage during the summer months.

The report says, “for every seven low-income students who depended on the National School Lunch Program during the regular 2011-2012 school year, only one child received summer meals in July 2012.”

Tom Vilsack, head of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), emphasizes, “We must do all we can to ensure that children get nutritious food year-round, so that they are ready to learn during the school year and have a greater chance to succeed.” Efforts by USDA and the public have slightly improved summer feeding participation but the gap in coverage is still huge.

Jim Weill, the president of FRAC, says, “USDA is providing strong leadership with its emphasis on improving summer meals, but Congress will need to fix some of the underlying problems in the programs in the 2015 Child Nutrition Reauthorization to truly repair the Summer Nutrition Programs. Congress must take a fresh look at the Summer Nutrition Programs and consider ways to improve this faltering program so it more effectively addresses hunger and obesity.”

The struggle to defeat hunger at home and abroad depends on school meals. Leaders, both from the government and the public, need to ensure these vital food programs are strengthened.

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Catholic Relief Services Wants McGovern-Dole Expanded to Fight World Hunger

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

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

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 this year. Previous funding levels are around $205 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.

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.

Article first published as Catholic Relief Services Wants McGovern-Dole Expanded to Fight World Hunger on Blogcritics.

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Senator Brown Urges School Meals at Home and Abroad

Senator Sherrod Brown recently visited Haiti and saw what a difference school feeding makes for children. The school meals are funded by the U.S. McGovern-Dole program. (World Food Programme photo)

Senator Sherrod Brown recently visited Haiti and saw what a difference school feeding makes for children. The school meals are funded by the U.S. McGovern-Dole program. (World Food Programme photo)

United States Senator Sherrod Brown (D, OH) has been a long-time advocate for the school lunch program in Ohio and across the country. He is currently trying to expand summer feeding to reach more children in need.

Brown is also advocating for school meals abroad as an important piece of U.S. foreign policy. The News Record reported on Brown’s recent visit to Haiti. There the Senator saw the impact of school meals, funded by the US McGovern-Dole program, on Haitian children.

Named after former Senators George McGovern and Bob Dole, this program funds school meals in developing countries. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) received the McGovern-Dole grant for Haiti and distributes the food. Elizabeth Jennings of WFP says the McGovern-Dole funding “has been vital” in supporting school feeding in Haiti.

WFP relies on voluntary funding for its hunger relief programs in Haiti and other countries. These programs often face low funding levels. The McGovern-Dole grant has allowed WFP to feed about 300,000 Haitian children.

For many children in developing countries, school feeding might be the only meal they receive the entire day. McGovern-Dole funding allows millions of children in Haiti, Afghanistan, Mali and other countries to get food for education.

Although McGovern-Dole and other international food aid is less than one tenth of one percent of the federal budget, it is often targeted for cuts by some members of Congress. Bread for the World says that the sequester will mean “234,000 children will experience reductions from or be denied access to school feeding programs administered through the McGovern-Dole program.”

Senator Brown is urging that the U.S. continue to fund McGovern-Dole and other food aid programs.

Article first published as Senator Brown Urges School Meals at Home and Abroad on Blogcritics.

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