Weekly Columns

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to those “who shall have done the most, or the best work, for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

This year’s recipient truly embodies those ideals. 

The World Food Program (WFP), the largest humanitarian organization focused on global hunger and food security, was awarded the honor for “its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.”

The organization’s executive director, David Beasley, is a good friend of mine. His commitment to serving a higher calling is inspirational. I couldn’t be more pleased that the spotlight is pointed on the work of the WFP under David’s dedicated leadership. 

David will be the first to tell you that despite this honor, the WFP’s work is far from complete. After the announcement, he said, “The good news is we’re feeding 80 million people on any given day in 80 countries. The bad news is it’s getting worse out there – the famine, the droughts, the conflicts.”

While that assessment is spot-on, I would add one more factor to the list—the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, COVID-19 could result in upwards of 132 million more people struggling with hunger. That number already sits at nearly 690 million.

COVID-19 is casting a large shadow over this year’s World Food Day, a date annually recognized by the U.S., the FAO and 130 countries as an occasion to promote global awareness and action for all who suffer from malnutrition, chronic hunger and obesity.

This year’s theme is “Grow, nourish, sustain. Together. Our actions are our future,” which highlights the need to preserve access to safe and nutritious food. This will continue to be an essential part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as more people face food insecurity in the wake of the food supply disruptions and economic displacement brought on by it.

As co-chair of the Senate Hunger Caucus, I am proud to have joined my colleagues in support of a resolution that designated October 16, 2020, as World Food Day. Observing this day raises awareness of America’s important efforts to stamp out hunger worldwide.

Eliminating hunger at home and abroad takes U.S. leadership. That is why the Senate Hunger Caucus not only seeks to find vehicles to bring focus to the plight of those suffering from food insecurity, but solutions that bring upon meaningful change as well. There is a great deal of work to be done, but the theme of this year’s World Food Day serves as a guide as we work to achieve that goal.

World Food Day serves as both a call to action and an opportunity to recognize the many who have stepped up and been a champion on this issue on a global scale and in our individual communities. David Beasley and his team at the WFP are clearly an example of the latter. The organization he runs now has a Nobel Peace Prize to prove it. I have the utmost confidence that the WFP will continue to inspire us all to help work toward a world where hunger is no longer an issue.