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By Esteban García
Members of Bread for the World, Bread for the World Institute, and the Alliance to End Hunger gathered earlier this week at the Metropolitan Club in New York City for the annual Gala to End Hunger. The event – in its 12th year – gives these organizations an opportunity to thank donors and also allows them to renew their ties to our mission.
This year, Bread was honored to welcome Ertharin Cousin, the executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP) and the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture under President Obama. Rather than giving a speech, Cousin and Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, engaged in a conversation that touched on the challenges in the current global fight to end hunger as well as the triumphs that should be celebrated.
Cousin said she was confident in the collective ability to end hunger by 2030, a goal set forth by the United Nations and shared by Bread for the World. “Definitely,” was her simple but firm response to Beckmann’s question about ending hunger in the next 15 years.
Speaking before the roughly 170 attendees at the gala, Beckmann earlier in the evening highlighted the WFP’s essential role in alleviating the suffering of many of the world’s most vulnerable people, including the thousands of refugees fleeing from the violence in Syria. Likewise, Cousin made reference to the important work that Bread does. “Bread for the World keeps our mission in front of the U.S. government,” she said.
The WFP is a key force in the fight to end hunger. In addition to feeding the refugees from Syria who make their way to Europe, Cousin said that her organization is also working to prepare for the effects of El Niño next year. El Niño, a warming of ocean waters, can wreak havoc on weather patterns worldwide, negatively affecting food production because of the natural disasters it brings with it like floods.
In his closing remarks, Beckmann put the spotlight on those who work in communities across the U.S. and around the world to end hunger, saying that “the power really is with the grassroots people.”
Esteban Garcia is a media relations specialist at Bread for the World.
Photo: Ertharin Cousin, World Food Programme executive director, foreground, and Rev. David Beckmann, right, at the annual Gala to End Hunger. Zach Blum for Bread for the World.
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