Statement from WFP USA’s Rick Leach on Bob Dole Receiving the Congressional Gold Medal

Published September 15, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today President Donald Trump signed a bill put forth by members of Congress to award their highest civilian honor to former U.S. Senator and founding World Food Program USA Board member Bob Dole in recognition for his service to the nation as a soldier, legislator, and statesman.

Bob Dole embodies the values that underlie the nation. He represents the best of America. His lifetime of public service is built on compassion, integrity and an unrelenting commitment to improve our nation and world. Millions of families across the globe can testify to his impact on the planet and our collective future.

For nearly 50 years, Dole has championed programs to provide lifesaving nutrition to families in need. During his career and even into his retirement, Dole led bipartisan efforts in Congress to shield children from hunger both at home and abroad, having witnessed hunger and poverty, first, as a child growing up in Kansas during the Great Depression and, later, as a second lieutenant during World War II. In fact, every major U.S. program designed to help feed children living in poverty bears the imprint of Senator Dole.

He knows that fighting global hunger transcends politics, as his partnership and friendship with Democratic Senator George McGovern illustrated. While the two Senators opposed each other on many issues, both shared the belief that no child should go hungry. Together, they drafted and successfully persuaded Congress to establish a global school lunch program in 2002 to bring that vision to life. The aptly named McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program has so far fed 22 million children in 41 countries. Their bipartisan collaboration has become the model for putting people above politics—and continuing U.S. leadership in the fight to solve global hunger for good.

Since World Food Program USA’s founding in 1997, Senator Dole has served as a powerful and tireless advocate for feeding families in need. Each year, our organization recognizes hunger champions who continue Dole’s incredibly legacy: The award itself shares his name.

This legacy lives on every day in classrooms all over the planet and in the faces of children who know they can rely on a nourishing school meal from the World Food Programme. Today, millions of children around the world received a meal because of Bob Dole.

No single award could capture the impact that Bob Dole has had on the lives of people across the globe. There’s no more deserving recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal.