We are in a critical moment. Hunger and malnutrition threaten millions of people both in the United States and around the world. The United States Congress, while averting a shutdown temporarily, finds itself in chaos with an uncertain path forward. Globally, continued and developing political violence and conflicts are feeding into volatility and uncertainty for communities and populations facing food insecurity around the world.
Despite the challenges, the Alliance to End Hunger continues to make progress in pushing for policies that address hunger and malnutrition. Thanks in large part to our members’ persistent advocacy efforts, we defeated an Agriculture Appropriations bill in the House of Representatives that would have been massively destructive to many of the programs we care about including Food for Peace and the McGovern-Dole Food for Education program. Further, we were able to stave off a government shutdown that would have had severe repercussions for beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), SNAP, Meals on Wheels, and other domestic nutrition programs.
Unfortunately, there is still uncertainty. Following the ouster of Speaker of the House Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House is struggling with an unprecedented lack of leadership. Without a Speaker, it is virtually impossible to pass funding bills, and we may once again find ourselves on the verge of a shutdown in November. We will continue to keep our membership and wider network updated on actions that our community needs to take.
Globally, Alliance members are responding to the ongoing food crisis. As many as 783 million people in the world are facing hunger, with climate shocks, economic uncertainties, and violent conflict negatively impacting millions. It was reassuring to hear Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s UN Security Council announcement of an additional $362million, through USAID, to assist severe food insecurity across Africa and in Haiti. However, we know that more is needed, and the Alliance and our membership are fighting for additional critical funds as the federal budget process moves forward. The Alliance to End Hunger is also still engaging in advocacy around the Farm Bill as the current legislation nears expiration. The Farm Bill is crucial to addressing hunger in the United States and abroad, and passing an updated Farm Bill that addresses the needs of food insecure populations is a priority for our coalition.
While challenges loom, I am always grateful and amazed by the great work that our network is able to accomplish. Over the summer, I had the privilege of visiting members and partners in Indiana and Michigan to learn more about the work they are doing in their own communities and around the world. I also joined our global allies in New York City, during the UN General Assembly, to discuss solutions to the global food crisis. Finally, in November we will be hosting our Annual Hunger Free Communities Virtual Summit, where hundreds of our local partners come together and explore solutions and best practices for ending hunger at the community level.
I am astounded by the effectiveness and impact of our collective work together. We are facing so many critical challenges, but nothing is insurmountable as we continue to work together to end hunger at home and abroad.