Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Renew federal law to help feed world’s hungry

In Vermont, one in 11 people face hunger. The situation is even worse for children, with one in eight Vermont children facing hunger. There is much we can do to solve this problem at home. We can donate to our local food shelves, and the Vermont Food Bank as a start. As bad as food insecurity is for some in our midst here in Vermont, the situation is even worse around the world.

Since 2019, the number of people who go to bed hungry each night has almost tripled from 135 million to 345 million. Food prices have been on the rise since the start of the pandemic, and the war in Ukraine only made matters worse. These factors, coupled with a historic drought, have pushed millions of people to the brink of famine in Somalia, where a child is hospitalized for acute malnutrition every minute.

The U.S. has stepped up to provide emergency food relief, including specific resources for the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya), several times this year. But, as a whole, this urgent crisis has not received the international response it merits. We can, and must, do more.

That includes passing the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act of 2022. Since it was passed in 2016, the bipartisan GFSA has played a key role in addressing the root causes of food insecurity and, through the Feed the Future program, has helped lift millions of families out of hunger. But the bill is about to expire, putting those vital resources and programs at risk. The House of Representatives has already passed a bill to reauthorize GFSA– now, it’s the Senate’s turn.

Urge Sens. Leahy and Sanders to show their support for the fight against hunger by co-sponsoring S. 4649, the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act. We have the tools to help lessen the severity of this crisis and, with millions knocking at famine’s door, we cannot afford to wait. And it’s important to note that hunger affects global security, hungry people are often ripe targets for extremists, and that can end up on our doorstop.

Richard Butz

Bristol

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