Senate Committee Denies Mandatory Funding for McGovern-Dole Global School Lunch Program that Fights Child Hunger

Share Article

The Senate Agriculture Committee recently denied mandatory funding for the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program on the 2007 Farm Bill. This is the program that provides school lunches to children in impoverished countries. A public service announcement about McGovern-Dole is available on Youtube. The Friends of the UN World Food Program is urging citizens to contact their Senators about providing mandatory funding for the McGovern-Dole program.

The Senate Agriculture Committee recently denied mandatory funding for the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program on the 2007 Farm Bill. This is the program that provides school lunches to children in impoverished countries.

The Friends of the World Food Program and author William Lambers have prepared a public service announcement about McGovern-Dole. The announcement highlights the importance of school lunch programs in the fight against child hunger. Citizens are encouraged to contact their Senators about supporting the McGovern-Dole Program. The PSA is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysv8ZO_9fNQ

Countries like Afghanistan, Kenya, and Pakistan all benefit from school lunch programs sponsored by McGovern-Dole. School lunches not only fight child hunger, but also increase school attendance and performance rates. With healthier, educated children nations are more likely to progress and build peaceful, stable societies.

Charities such as Catholic Relief Services, C.A.R.E, Food for the Poor and the UN World Food Program carry out the school lunch programs. With 300 million children suffering from hunger there is a tremendous need for school lunch initiatives in developing countries. However, most of the McGovern-Dole applications by the aforementioned charities are denied by the United States Department of Agriculture. There is simply not enough funding allocated by Congress to McGovern-Dole.

This summer the House of Representatives sought to change that by approving mandatory funding for McGovern-Dole, increasing its annual budget from the present 100 million to 300 million over the next 5 years. A guaranteed minimum level of funding would be provided each year giving the program security.

The Senate Agriculture Committee went against the House in late October when drafting its version of the Farm Bill. The Senate Committee removed the mandatory language and decided to make McGovern-Dole spending a year-by-year decision, leaving the future of the school lunch program in doubt.

The mandatory increase would be a commitment to providing more school lunches to children in developing countries. It would be a show of U.S. leadership in building a global school lunch program by assuring a consistent level of financial support. Certainly in countries like Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti and Burundi there is going to be a need for school lunch programs as part of the reconstruction of society.

In Kenya the World Food Programme partners with a Netherlands-based charity called ChildsLife International (http://www.childslife.nl) to distribute meals at the Stara School. According to ChildsLife, "At the Stara School, more than 500 children - most of whom have no parents and a number of whom are suffering from AIDS - attend daily classes in math, reading, writing and other subjects. Located in the largest slum in Nairobi, the school also provides children with medication and two meals a day."

William Lambers recently wrote in a Cincinnati Post op/ed (http://lamberspublications.com/downloads/FarmBill.pdf) that "In Afghanistan, a country struggling to build a democracy and peace after years of conflict, school lunches are vital to reconstruction. The United States, with its allies, should ensure that every child in Afghanistan can obtain school lunches and take-home rations. Any reconstruction plan for Iraq must also focus on ending child hunger and malnutrition, which has increased since the 2003 invasion."

Within weeks the Farm Bill will be finalized and if the Senate Agriculture Committee's decision stands, McGovern-Dole will suffer a setback in building a global school lunch program.

December 10th Update: Senator Sherrod Brown has proposed an amendment to the Farm Bill that includes moving funds from the crop insurance subsidies to McGovern-Dole. According to the Friends of the World Food Program the Brown amendment would give mandatory funding for McGovern-Dole although at lower levels than hoped for. But the Friends is urging support of Senator Brown's proposed amendment as a positive step toward fighting child hunger. The Friends are calling on citizens to contact their Senators in support of this effort. On Tuesday, December 11th Senator Brown is scheduled to speak about his proposed amendment to the Farm Bill.

###

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

William Lambers

513-347-7344
Email >
Visit website