Shouldn’t the US government buy food from small farmers in the poor countries where they work? Timi Gerson, director of advocacy for American Jewish World Service, shares an opportunity where YOU can help make this a reality.
What if I told you that right now, today, we have the opportunity to prevent 4 million people from starving?
I’m writing this and you’re reading it because we care about global poverty. Because at some point, somewhere along the way in our lives we looked around and decided that the world as it is was unacceptable. That 870 million hungry people was unacceptable. That one in four children suffering from malnutrition was unacceptable. That we had an obligation – moral, social, political – to change things so that not one more person should die, not one more child should go hungry because of preventable diseases or avoidable starvation.
So how are we going to prevent 4 million people from starving? By fighting for critical reforms to the US food aid program.
In April, President Obama put out a bold plan to take our current system into the 21st century by easing time-consuming and costly restrictions that emergency food aid be bought here and shipped across the ocean. Instead, his proposal would allow the government to buy food closer to communities in need, getting taxpayers 25 to 50 percent more food for our money. It would deliver it to people in need some 14 weeks faster – weeks that can make the difference between life and death, particularly for pregnant women, nursing mothers and babies. We could use vouchers in conflict zones like Syria and Somalia where trucking in bags of food is impossible.
Through these changes, we can make sure that no food aid dollar is wasted and none of those 4 million people fall through the cracks of a 60-year-old system in need of reform.
We have an ally in the White House. Now we have allies in the Congress as well. Chairman Ed Royce, R-CA, of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Ranking Member Karen Bass, D-CA, of the Africa sub-committee have teamed up on the Food Aid Reform Act.
The Food Aid Reform Act goes a long way toward making the changes the president proposed. But the special interests that benefit from the status quo aren’t going to let it go easily. That’s where you and I come in. My organization, American Jewish World Service is dedicated to fighting for food aid reform alongside allies like The ONE Campaign. Congress needs to hear from you that you are too.
Take action with ONE now and tell Congress: It’s time for US food aid reform! Sign our petition here.