Vice President Joe Biden and World Food Program USA Honor Senator Debbie Stabenow

Published September 10, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.—On Wednesday, September 10, World Food Program USA (WFP USA) hosted its annual McGovern-Dole Leadership Award Ceremony at the Columbus Club at Union Station. At the event, WFP USA was joined by Vice President Joe Biden to honor Senator Debbie Stabenow for her leadership in alleviating global hunger.

Thanks to her work as Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, the newly passed Farm Bill expands upon the success of the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education Program, which supports school meals for children in the world’s poorest countries. Continuing the legacy of U.S. lawmakers like the late Senator George McGovern and Senator Bob Dole, Senator Stabenow brought Republicans and Democrats together to pass a bill that tackles the unique challenges of hunger in the 21st century in smart, sustainable ways. In particular, the bill establishes a new program linking school meals with small-scale farmers.

“A new program established by Senator Stabenow—just a few words of text in the bill—will have a transformative impact,” said Rick Leach, president and CEO of World Food Program USA. “Now we can buy food from small-scale farmers, who often suffer from hunger, to feed children in school. Through this effort, we can lift the first group out of hunger and extreme poverty while providing hope and opportunity for the second.”

Stabenow’s leadership on this initiative also ensures that children in need have the right nutrition to succeed in the classroom. Studies have shown that school meals improve attendance and graduation rates, especially among girls. As a leading advocate on an issue that disproportionately affects women and girls, Stabenow understands that improving gender equality and empowering all people is one of the most effective ways to solve hunger.

“This award means so much to me because I know the World Food Program travels to the ends of the earth—literally—to deliver food and supplies to men, women and children. Deliveries that may be the difference between life and death,” Stabenow said. “As Americans, we are compelled to help alleviate global hunger because it’s simply the right thing to do. It’s also the smart thing to do. International aid is more than a Band-Aid—it’s a building block to create stronger economies around the world. Food security is a stabilizing force in destabilized regions. By fighting global hunger and strengthening local agricultural economies, we are enhancing global security.”

Since 2001, WFP USA has hosted an annual award ceremony to recognize leaders who have played a critical role in solving global hunger. The award is named after the Senators McGovern and Dole in recognition of their bipartisan commitment to advancing unprecedented U.S. government efforts to address global hunger. To date, the George McGovern-Robert Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program has reached more than 22 million children in 41 countries since its inception.

The award was created by Dutch sculptor Marianne Houtkamp to honor both the dreams and sacrifices of those she met during her many years living in Kenya. The sculpture, titled Bright Future, is a testament to hope, depicting a mother raising her child up to new opportunities. Past award recipients include U.S. Senators George McGovern and Bob Dole, U.S. Representatives Jim McGovern and Jo Ann Emerson, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Howard Buffett, Bill Gates, David Novak and Christina Aguilera.

For more information about The McGovern-Dole School Meals Fund, click here.


About World Food Program USA

World Food Program USA (WFP USA) works to solve global hunger, building a world where everyone has the food and nutrition needed to lead healthy, productive lives. WFP USA raises support for these efforts in the United States by engaging individuals, organizations and businesses, shaping public policy and generating resources for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).