WASHINGTON , D.C. - Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture Bob Goodlatte today made the following statement regarding National Hunger Awareness Days and food aid to Africa:
"A grassroots effort to focus attention on hunger in the United States designated Tuesday, June 7, 2005 as National Hunger Awareness Day. This laudable effort happened to coincide with British Prime Minister Tony Blair's visit with President Bush to discuss, among other things, efforts among leaders of the G-8 group of industrialized nations to address hunger on the continent of Africa. This seems like a good opportunity to briefly focus on what the U.S. does to address hunger worldwide.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers a number of food assistance programs that are designed to provide needy persons with access to a more nutritious diet, improve the eating habits of the nation's children, and help America's farmers by distributing food purchased under farmer assistance authorities. USDA estimates that about 1 in 5 Americans participates, at some point in the year, in one of these food assistance programs.
Needy Americans include elderly citizens living on fixed incomes, unemployed workers in transition, and children in single-parent households. Whatever their circumstances, the U.S. Government has been generous in responding to this need.
But the federal government cannot meet every need and this is why I especially appreciate the work of groups such as America 's Second Harvest, and its network of more than 200 food banks and food organizations. National Hunger Awareness Day is one part of their plan to focus attention and volunteer resources on meeting this pressing human need. While National Hunger Day was only established in 2002, I would like to commend Second Harvest and other organizations for focusing increased awareness and voluntary resources to help needy families in the United States.
The Federal Government's response to hunger is not confined to domestic assistance only, however. The United States plays a leading role in global efforts to alleviate hunger and malnutrition, and the USDA carries out a number of food aid programs which support economic growth and development in needy countries. Following his meeting with Prime Minister Blair, President Bush promised $674 million for famine relief in Africa . This is yet one more example of the compassion of this great land."