Fighting Hunger Takes Effort

Article excerpt

Byline: Blake Selzer, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Recent reports of a surge in demand for food-bank services in the D.C. area might cause

some to shrug their shoulders and declare, Hunger happens.

But the truth is that people don't have to go to sleep on achingly empty stomachs. Certainly not on the scale we see today, whether it's half a block - or half a world - away.

More than 500,000 Washington-area residents are at risk of being hungry, according to the Capital Area Food Bank. On a global scale, according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, more than 1 billion people - one-sixth of the world's population - suffer from chronic hunger, struggling through extended periods without enough food.

In many cultures, women and girls eat after the men and are given smaller amounts, though it is women who are most likely to feed their families and lead the way to solutions for entire communities. Yet many hunger initiatives are gender-blind.

That is changing. The role of women is at the heart of several efforts to comprehensively address and combat the underlying causes of chronic hunger.

A bipartisan group of senators in 2004 formed the Hunger Caucus to support legislative initiatives to help address hunger both domestically and globally. Backed by a growing group of government officials and activists, they say the solutions to hunger here - and around the world - require the U.S. to develop sound hunger-fighting strategies.

Under the leadership of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Obama administration has made fighting global hunger a priority, outlining a comprehensive approach in a new initiative to what is called food security. …