On Hunger Awareness Day, New Blueprint to End Hunger Details Policies and Actions to Solve Problem Affecting 34 Million People

America's Second Harvest
Thursday, 3 June 2004

Candidate Questionnaire Will Help Foster Election Year Public Education

On this annual National Hunger Awareness Day, 13 organizations that comprise the National Anti-Hunger Organizations (NAHO) unveiled a new "Blueprint to End Hunger in America." More than 34 million Americans–13 million of them children–are going hungry or living on the very edge of hunger (suffering "food insecurity"), according to official federal government data.

The NAHO Blueprint recommends programmatic investments and improvements in the national nutrition safety net to halve hunger and food insecurity in the US by 2010 and to end both by 2015. It outlines strategies to improve benefit adequacy and access in the Food Stamp, child nutrition, WIC and emergency feeding programs.

"Our nation has the tools and resources to end hunger. Our Blueprint offers a realistic plan for achieving that goal," said NAHO Chairperson H. Eric Schockman, President of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. "Now we need to redouble efforts to educate policymakers and the public. We must build the national commitment to get this vital job done."

"The Blueprint offers a sensible path for our nation to tackle the problem of hunger and food insecurity," said Jim Weill, President of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). "The proposed investments are based on proven strategies that will yield dividends many times over. In an America without hunger, children and adults will be ready to learn and earn. And in an America without hunger, the fabric of communities and institutions will be strengthened. "

"Our Blueprint outlines practical action steps for federal, state and local governments, industry, labor, faith-based, community, and other non-profit groups, and individuals to take to end hunger," said Robert Forney, President of America's Second Harvest. "Everyone in our nation has a stake in ending hunger, and all of us can advocate for the Blueprint's prescriptions to end it."

NAHO groups will seek broad bipartisan support for the Blueprint recommendations. For more than 30 years bipartisan support has been pivotal in securing improvements to many public nutrition programs, most recently in the Food Stamp Program in 2002.

Organizational signers of the Blueprint are: America's Second Harvest; Bread for the World; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; Center on Hunger and Poverty; Community Food Security Coalition; Congressional Hunger Center; End Hunger Network; Food Research and Action Center; MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger; Presbyterian Hunger Program; RESULTS; Share Our Strength, and World Hunger Year.

The Blueprint is a companion piece to the December 2003 NAHO Declaration to End Hunger, which discusses the root causes of hunger and poverty and presents a vision for action. The full text of the Declaration and Blueprint are attached, as well as posted on the FRAC web site (www.frac.org)

Also in conjunction with Hunger Awareness Day, FRAC and America's Second Harvest released a candidate questionnaire that citizen groups throughout the country will use to increase public awareness of and foster public discussion about hunger and related problems. Groups will use the questionnaire on a nonpartisan basis to compel candidates for office at every level of government to respond to the problem of hunger in the United States, and to engage our country and our leaders on this critical issue.

With respect to immediate action, Weill of FRAC explained, "Congress can take a first step in moving the country toward the Blueprint's goals by enacting legislation to strengthen the child nutrition programs. Bills with bipartisan support have already cleared the full House and the Senate Agriculture Committee. While more comprehensive measures must follow to reach the Blueprint's goals, these child nutrition bills take us in the right direction."

For more information, or to contact America's Second Harvest, see their website at: www.secondharvest.org

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