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I am writing today to urge you to support robust funding for the George McGovern-Robert Dole International Food for Education and Child Program through the reauthorization of the Farm Bill and the Fiscal Year 2024 Agriculture Appropriations bill.
The economic ripple effects of COVID-19 combined with conflicts like the war in Ukraine, extreme weather events and the rising cost of food and fuel continue to drive people – including children – into hunger. Today, 73 million children (about twice the population of California) are still in need of school meals. While the world experiences this unprecedented hunger crisis, there are efforts in Congress to weaken or eliminate food assistance programs like McGovern-Dole.
The United States has a legacy of leading the global fight against hunger through international school feeding initiatives like McGovern-Dole and it is more important now than ever to preserve this legacy. Through McGovern-Dole, the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) implements many of its school meals programs overseas. These school meals:
- improve children’s, especially young girls’, access to education.
- increase school enrollment and retention rates.
- boost children’s health and nutrition, which allows them to focus on their studies.
Since its inception in 2002, the McGovern-Dole program has improved the nutrition and education of 31 million schoolchildren and their families. Over the past two decades, the program has provided over 5.5 billion school meals.
School meals increase enrollment by an average of 9%. These meals can also reduce poverty. The value of school meals is equivalent to about 10% of a household’s income. Especially in families with several children, that can add up to substantial savings and help parents to reroute money to other pressing needs like housing or medicine.
As Congress works on its annual spending bills and prepares to renew the Farm Bill, I’m asking you — my Member of Congress —to support funding and preserve the McGovern-Dole Program to save millions of lives and reduce hunger around the world.
[First Name] [Last Name]