Support the McGovern-Dole Global School Meals Program

Each year millions of children around the world go to school on an empty stomach.  Hungry children find it more difficult to learn, they get sick more often and many find it difficult to even go to school. The U.S. has an opportunity to make sure that an additional 1 million children will receive meals in school this year.  You can help by asking your Senator to support funding for the McGovern-Dole international school meals program.  

We the undersigned urge you to support an increase in funding for the McGovern-Dole
International School Meals Program. You can begin by supporting the House Agricultural Appropriations Subcommittee's funding level of $266.5 million for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program (McGovern-Dole) in the FY2011 Agricultural Appropriations Bill. This additional funding will allow us to reach an additional 1 million children around the world.

With nearly 1 billion people suffering from hunger worldwide, U.S. leadership is desperately needed. Supporting school feeding is a critical part of our response to this global crisis.

We know from our history what school meals can mean for helping children and building peace. After World War II, General Lucius Clay exclaimed that a school lunch program set up by Herbert Hoover "saved the health of German youth" and "did more to convince the German people of our desire to recreate their nation than any other action on our part."

We cannot forget this lesson of the WWII era as we struggle for peace in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and so many other countries. For school meals are one of the silent ingredients of progress in those nations. A simple school lunch not only fends off the enemy of hunger, it also improves a child's learning ability. School lunches give children and their families hope for a better life.

But if you look around the globe, you realize how many countries cannot provide school feeding for all their children. Many of these countries are suffering from conflict or natural disasters. The UN World Food Programme and dedicated charities try to provide school meals to as many children as possible. But these efforts often struggle to receive funding. Increasing McGovern-Dole funding is a way we can change this.

The U.S. government has an opportunity this year to expand the McGovern Dole program to reach more hungry children. The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee has included $266.5 million for McGovern Dole in the FY2011 Agriculture Appropriations Bill while the Senate Appropriations Committee has provided $209.5 million. As these bills are finalized, I would like to see you voice your support for $266.5 million in FY 2011 funding for McGovern-Dole. Please communicate your support for this funding to members of the Appropriations Committee and Senate leadership.

This funding increase would be a good start. But consider that much more is needed from the U.S. and its allies if we hope to achieve our foreign policy objectives. For food and education for children is the ultimate foundation for peace, progress and stability around the globe.

Thank you for your time and support for fighting global hunger with school meals.

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