Media CenterCRS Submits Testimony to Congress Urging Leaders to Robustly Fund Critical Food Assistance Programs

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Kim Pozniak
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]


Addressing House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee,
CRS urges Funding for Food for Peace and
McGovern Dole

WASHINGTON, DC, April 6, 2017 -- Catholic Relief Services (CRS), along with other organizations, is calling on Congress to continue to fund critical food assistance programs at a time when food needs around the world are greater than ever before.

In a written testimony submitted to the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, Sean Callahan, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, called for $1.716 billion for the Food for Peace program and $201 million for the McGovern-Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition program (“McGovern-Dole”).  Food for Peace funds emergency food delivery and development programs that address roots causes of hunger.  McGovern-Dole provides lunches to primary school students in poor countries to encourage school attendance and improve educational outcomes.  CRS also joined dozens of other organizations in a letter to the subcommittee urging the continuation of funding for these programs. 

Callahan, noted in his testimony that “It is through these types of humanitarian and development programs that other countries view Americans.  They highlight our values and leave lasting impressions on those we reach, building a partnership of trust in many fragile countries around the world.”

In the joint letter, signing organizations stress the vital role the United States has played for decades in providing a lifeline to those on the brink of disaster.

“America is the largest donor of food assistance in the world, and proudly displays ‘from the American people’ on Food for Peace donations. From 2010 to 2015, Food for Peace benefitted 52 million people in 50 countries annually,” the letter states.

The funding request for McGovern-Dole was also buoyed by a bi-partisan letter signed by 57 Members of the House of Representatives, led by Representatives Lynn Jenkins (KS-2-R) and the Jim McGovern (MA-2-D), who serve as co-chairs of the House Hunger Caucus. 

In that letter, it was noted that “for just a few cents a day, McGovern-Dole has made a difference in the lives of children and communities, promoted American values in the most positive terms, and helped achieve U.S. foreign policy and national security goals.”

Callahan’s testimony also called for $80 million to fund a specialized program to buy food for McGovern-Dole from small, local farmers in developing countries.  Noting that some countries have been inspired my McGovern-Dole to invest in national school feeding programs, Callahan pointed out that this program “will help transition management of school feeding to local governments.”

These requests come at a time when an estimated 70 million people will need emergency food assistance in 45 countries. In four of those countries—Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen—20 million people’s lives are in peril, the equivalent of the entire population of Florida. 

“With recent trends moving toward an increase in food assistance needs and global security threats, now is the time for America to continue our leadership role in the world by showing full support for [these programs],” the joint organizational letter states. 

Read the testimony to Congress.


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, please visit or and follow CRS on social media: Facebook, @CatholicRelief@CRSnewsYouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.


Kim Pozniak

Director of Communications

Kim Pozniak
April 6, 2017

Based in Baltimore, MD

As the Director of Communications, Kim oversees the communications and social media teams working with journalists and the media to connect them with engaging stories about relief and development programs that are making a tangible difference in people’s lives around the world.

Her previous work at CRS includes handling emergency...More