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Why Can't We Do Something to End Hunger? We Can.

It was in November, 1945 that the Cincinnati Enquirer reported a heroic effort by area schoolchildren. The students helped to collect 36,000 pounds of clothing, bedding and shoes for the charity Save the Children, which then distributed the items overseas in war-torn Europe.

It was deeds such as this that helped build the foundation for recovery and peace in Europe following World War II.

After the fighting of World War II had ended, Americans could have solely turned their attention to challenges at home. But as Eileen Egan of Catholic Relief Services wrote, "their concern had to be also turned outward to the world…while for many the fighting was over, the war was not. The war now was against hunger, homelessness, disease and fear."

Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children and other charities today need the help of communities across America, this time to end global hunger. Over one billion people worldwide suffer from lack of food.

A coalition of charities recently made recommendations on how the United States could lead a more effective worldwide campaign to eliminate hunger. These recommendations helped form the Roadmap to End Global Hunger legislation (H.R. 2817) which is currently in Congress. The legislation is in need of public support. Rep. Jim McGovern, who has co-sponsored the bill, says," We are trying to put global hunger on the top of the administration's agenda."

The Roadmap would create a White House office to coordinate the U.S. response to hunger. This is vital because currently the strategy is spread out among a number of agencies. A global hunger advisor would be appointed to lead this office and work with President Obama and the Cabinet.

Ambassador Michael Klosson of Save the Children says this advisor "would be dedicated to keeping food security on the agenda and in the public consciousness." He also points out that this high-level office would not only provide central coordination for the U.S. attack on hunger, it would improve international cooperation as well. Klosson says, "that's the type of coordination that can really make a difference in people's lives, and in a way that directly improves their well-being and serves our national security interests."

We saw this after World War II when Herbert Hoover served as a food ambassador and very much kept global hunger as a front-and center-issue.

Traveling to numerous countries, Hoover coordinated the global response to post-war hunger. In Latin America, for instance, Hoover's speeches were translated and distributed throughout the press. This helped to rally public support for measures to free up more food supplies for Europe and Asia. We need this kind of international cooperation today to fight hunger and build peace.

In countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia, it is this fight against hunger which is the road to peace.

In Yemen, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) provides rations to tens of thousands displaced by conflict in the northern part of the country.

But low funding forced a ration cut this summer and suspension of a school feeding program for children throughout Yemen. Reducing food aid is hardly a strategy for peace in a conflict-ridden country. But when the international community fails to respond to hunger, this is the tragic result.

Recent fighting in Yemen is causing even more displacement and increasing the need for aid. The international community has to step up to ensure funding for emergency food operations so WFP and other charities can do their job.

If every citizen can take a minute to contact their representative in Congress about voting for this bill (H.R. 2817), it could make such a big difference for international peace. Save the Children has set up a take-action page here.

Allan Jury, the US director of the World Food Programme says,"We simply can't afford to let another generation go hungry." We know how to end hunger but yet for some reason the resolve from political leaders is not strong enough.

The Roadmap to End Global Hunger can change this. As Heather Hanson of Mercy Corps says,"The real news is not that people are hungry - but rather that they don't have to be. We can end hunger in our lifetimes."