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Bishops and CRS to Congress: Don't Cut Food Aid

March 20, 2012 by

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: John Rivera, 410-951-7399, john.rivera@crs.org

BALTIMORE, Md.–Catholic Relief Services and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have written to Congressional leaders asking them not to cut funding to two key U.S. food aid programs that serve hungry people overseas.

Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, who chairs the bishops’ Committee on Justice and Peace, and Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo, president & CEO of CRS, asked members of a House appropriations subcommittee to increase funding to the Title II Food for Peace (the main source of U.S. food aid) and the McGovern-Dole Food for Education food assistance programs. They noted that while the Obama Administration’s budget proposal increases overall foreign aid by 2.4%, it leaves funding unchanged for McGovern-Dole and cuts Title II Food for Peace by 4.5%.

“Through these programs, people impacted by drought or other natural disasters are fed, small farmers are given the tools they need to improve agricultural output, and the most vulnerable, including pregnant women and nursing children, are provided essential nutrition. In short, these programs save and improve the lives of millions of people,” the letter said.

The leaders also asked Congress to protect a portion of the funding for long-term development programs in Title II Food for Peace in a “safebox,” so it would not be used for another purpose. And they supported funding to buy food in or near the countries overseas where it is distributed, a practice known as a “local purchase.”

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