WASHINGTON — The Congressional Hunger Center (CHC) is a nonprofit, bipartisan organization that works to make issues of domestic and international hunger a priority for policymakers in the U.S. government.
In addition to advocating for a food secure world, CHC works to end hunger by training and inspiring leaders. Anti-hunger leaders are developed through the Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellows Program, the Mickey Leleand International Hunger Fellows program and other successful leadership development programs.
CHC believes that through leadership programs, Hunger Fellows will gain a unique perspective on the interconnectedness of national policy and local experience. Furthermore, CHC hopes that fellows will eventually share this perspective with national and international policy experts.
CHC achieves their goals by bridging the gap between grassroots efforts and public policy. With the help of CHC, grassroots organizations are able to expand access to national and international solutions designed specifically to fight hunger. Additionally, CHC works to build coalitions that advocate for food security.
Tony Hall, Ambassador and former Member of Congress, founded CHC in 1993. Currently, the organization is co-chaired by Representative Jo Ann Emerson, a republican from Missouri, and Representative James P. McGovern, a democrat from Massachusetts.
In 1983, three representatives, one republican and two democrats, formed the House Select Committee on Hunger with the goal of finding real solutions to national and international hunger and poverty. Mickey Leland, one of the three, chaired the committee until his death on a famine relief mission at the Horn of Africa in 1989.
In 1993, the House allowed a number of Select Committees to expire, including CHC. Hall, the Select Committee Chair at that time, responded by embarking on a 22-day fast — an act that helped bring Republicans and Democrats together with one goal in mind: to bring back the fight against world hunger. As a result of Hall’s efforts, the House Select Committee on Hunger was formed.
The Congressional Hunger Center focuses on policies that support food security. Food security measures the state of having reliable access to an adequate quantity of affordable and nutritious food.
In order to assist organizations like CHC, The World Food Programme publishes an Operations and Resourcing Update, which highlights critical issues and identifies the core problems of world hunger. Additionally, the program provides the international donor community with advanced estimates of food and aid requirements for the following year.
Programs that CHC supports include organizations such as the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, Feed the Future, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and federal Child Nutrition Programs.
Today, CHC has supported the development of more than 500 powerful, new anti-hunger leaders. It appears that while pounds were lost in Hall’s 22-day fast, the worthwhile effort certainly was not.
– Caroline Logan