What are Our Nation's Priorities regarding Hunger?
"House and Senate negotiators bargaining over a new farm bill have reduced funding for a key school lunch program for poor children abroad and agreed to sharply expand nutrition programs for low-income families and children in the United States.
The move came as conferees from the two chambers neared completion of the nearly $300 billion, five-year bill, which finances food stamps, farm subsidies, rural soil and water conservation programs and bio-energy initiatives. About two-thirds of the money goes to nutrition programs.
Under a deal worked out in the last few days, required spending on the Dole-McGovern International Food for Education program was set at $60 million. That is $780 million less than proposed by the House, and $40 million less than was allocated in the expiring farm bill.
Nearly 40 countries, including Ethiopia and Kenya, have benefited from the food-for-education program. Food dispensed to schools in poor countries through groups such as the U.N. World Food Program provides incentives for children to attend school, advocates say." Morgan, Dan, Farm Bill Negotiators Cut Funds for Overseas School Lunch Program. Special to The Washington Post May 6, 2008.
United States Needs
* The Farm Bill funds school breakfasts & lunches along with other food programs in the USA through the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).
* In Fiscal Year 2006, more than 30.1 million U.S. children got their lunch through the free or reduced National School Lunch Program. Additionally, 7.9 million U.S. children received a free or at a reduced-price breakfast on school days.
* The USDA estimated that in 2006, 12.6 million U.S. children lived in food insecure (low food security and very low food security) households.
* When school is out for over 180 days a year, these children may go hungry. This is especially true in the last 7 days of each month, when support dollars run out and/or there is no school in session (Summer & December holiday break).
* Many stories in the media in 2008, report a greatly increased demand for help at local food banks and soup kitchens.
* The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that in 2006, 36.5 million people in the USA lived in poverty.
* In 2007, 8,285,000 USA families received assistance through WIC - Women Infant Children - assistance for nutritious food.
* America's Second Harvest - Senior Hunger | * Meals on Wheels - food assistance for elderly Americans
* The Farm Bill Debate | * Hunger in America on PBS | * Life on the Edge Hunger in Oregon
* Full Disclosure: Who really benefits from federal farm subsidies?
How many kids in your school and/or school district receive a free or reduced cost lunch?
How many in your state?
According to the U.S Census Bureau what is the poverty rate in your community or state?
2. Now that you have assembled the facts:
What should be our priority? Why?
Which food assistance program would you add to or which would you diminish/remove from the food aid program list?
3. It is much easier to identify priorities than it is rank them.
Harness Intel's Visual Ranking tool (or another software product you have) to rank the priorities by importance or immediacy.
In health care, there is a ranking called STAT. Something rated STAT must be done immediately or as fast as possible.
It is highest in ranking and implies an emergency for the patient.
Are any of the nation's food assistance program a STAT? Which one(s)?
4. How would you decide that the nation has done enough? How would you define success?
Extend your thinking
Former U.S. Senators Robert Dole and George McGovern were named winners of the $250,000 World
Food Prize 2008 for their collaborative leadership in encouraging a global commitment to school feeding.
Should an organization that raises money to feed hungry people, give away some of that money as a prize to supporters?
What should the winners do with the money they are being given?
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developed by Cynthia J. O'Hora Released to public domain.
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