Washington, D.C. – Bread for the World today mourns the passing of the Honorable Robert J. Dole. Senator Dole was a champion of hunger and nutrition issues for most of his life. He is the former majority leader of the U.S. Senate, former Republican candidate for president of the United States, and a member of Bread for the World’s board of directors since 2001.
“Today we mourn the loss of a true champion for people experiencing hunger,” said Bread for the World president and CEO Rev. Eugene Cho. “His support of anti-hunger programs has ensured tens of millions of children both in the United States and around the world receive the nutrition they need to learn and grow. Senator Dole has undoubtedly changed history for the better.”
Senator Dole and his Democratic colleague, Senator George McGovern (D-SD), developed the modern food stamp program (now called SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), which enables more than 42 million people each year to put food on the table; the School Lunch Program, which on an average school day provides low-cost or free lunches to nearly 30 million children; and WIC, the Special Supplemental Food Program for Woman, Infants, and Children, which now provides more than 6 million pregnant women, new mothers, and young children annually with assistance buying healthy food and nutrition education.
Sens. Dole and McGovern also created the bipartisan McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. This program provides school meals in 42 countries and equips leaders in-country to “graduate” and begin administering the programs themselves. School meals improve students’ ability to concentrate and learn, strengthen household food security, and provide an incentive for families to keep their children. The senators shared the World Food Prize in 2008 for their leadership in improving child nutrition programs.
The senator also knew that neither he – nor Congress – could solve the problem of hunger alone. When Bread for the World founder Art Simon and Bread for the World’s second president Rev. David Beckmann published their book Grace at the Table in 1999, Senator Dole said, “Active citizens make our democracy work. For twenty-five years Bread for the World members have been a significant voice on behalf of hungry people.”
“Because of his leadership on hunger issues, I am proud of the Senator’s long association with Bread for the World as a member of our board of directors,” said Bread for the World board chair Kate Pringle. “His legacy of civility, of finding a way to tackle one of our world’s most pressing and human challenges by reaching across the aisle and forming lasting solutions, is an inspiration.”