Media CenterCRS Thanks Senators for Supporting Food for Peace
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Catholic Relief Services
BALTIMORE, MD, March 20, 2017 – Catholic Relief Services (CRS) extends its appreciation to the 30 Senators who recently authored a letter to the Administration expressing their support for the P.L. 480 Food for Peace program.
“We are very thankful to these Senators for their steadfast support of the Food for Peace program, and their recognition that programs like this are such effective instruments of foreign assistance, and, indeed, of our nation’s foreign policy,” said Sean Callahan, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services.
The letter, organized by Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), was sent last week just before the release of the Administration’s FY18 budget request that calls for significant cuts to foreign assistance programs. The Senate letter follows other letters highlighting the value of U.S. foreign assistance, including a letter authored by faith leaders that featured several prominent Catholic bishops.
The Food for Peace program is the U.S. government’s primary mechanism to respond to food emergencies whether they are brought on by drought, hurricanes or conflict. As the letter noted, “Food for Peace emergency programs save tens of millions of lives each year.”
CRS implements Food for Peace programs in several countries, many that have seen major food challenges in recent years. Last year in Ethiopia alone, CRS helped 2.9 million people through a major drought caused by El Nino using U.S. commodities provided through Food for Peace.
The program also supports long-term development projects that help small farm families grow more food, gain access to more nutritious food, and improve their ability to withstand droughts and floods. The success of a CRS managed Food for Peace development project in Malawi was highlighted in a recent USAID video.
While the Administration’s budget proposal did not provide details on the Food for Peace program, it did call for elimination of another important food aid program, the McGovern-Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition program. Named after Senators George McGovern and Bob Dole – a Democrat and a Republican -- this program funds school lunches that provide children in poor countries with needed nutrition and an incentive to attend school.
“Food for Education lunches are often the only meal many students receive each day, and they are a gateway to greater literacy, particularly for girls who aren’t normally encouraged to attend school in many of the communities served by the program,” Callahan said. “It is disappointing that such a great program that we know has changed the lives of millions for the better is targeted for elimination, and we hope Congress will rally around this program just as these Senators have with Food for Peace.”
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 crs.org or crsespanol.org and follow CRS on social media: Facebook, @CatholicRelief, @CRSnews, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.