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Oped: Trump should learn from Lebron and fight hunger

William Lambers
York Dispatch contributor

Instead of tweeting insults to Lebron James, President Trump should learn from "The King." Lebron's new I Promise School in Akron, Ohio will help children's education and also fight hunger.

The school will include a food pantry to help students in need. The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank will manage the Pantry. 

Foodbank President Dan Flowers says, “Offering additional support in this setting is an innovative approach to support the whole family, lifting up every member to help them achieve success.”

The I Promise School Pantry will be able to provide students with food to take home over long weekends and holidays. This food is crucial because on weekends the free school lunch and breakfast program is not available for needy children.

Nutritious food year round can make a huge difference in children's health and improving their education.

The need may become even greater with the Trump administration's proposed cuts to the SNAP food stamp program.  Food pantries will need a lot more support to fight hunger. That is what Trump should be concerned about instead of tweeting harsh remarks.  

While we tackle child hunger at home, we must also remember there are terrible food shortages overseas.

One of the most extreme hunger emergencies is tragically occurring in Syria. The seven year civil war between the Assad government and rebel groups has left millions displaced and hungry.

Many of these innocent victims are children, who are sometimes blocked by the warring forces from receiving basic foods. Just imagine if the roads to your town were blocked and no food trucks could come in with supplies. Without food small children will suffer lasting physical and mental damage, or even death from starvation.

That is what happens often in Syria when the UN World Food Program (WFP) and other relief agencies try to reach war victims. The U.S. must continue to work for peace and humanitarian access in Syria. Trump should focus on this instead of twitter.

Another problem is funding the massive relief operation reaching across the Middle East, as many Syrian families have fled to other countries.

Yemen is also mired in a deadly conflict that has put the Middle Eastern country on the brink of famine. The latest fighting between a Saudi led coalition against rebels has devastated the port city of Hodeidah, which is crucial to the flow of supplies.

Save the Children’s Yemen Country Director, Tamer Kirolos, warns,  “With the economy in tatters and health and sanitation facilities throughout the country destroyed, conditions are now rampant for disease and starvation to spread."

Sadly, the Trump administration has threatened to eliminate programs that feed Syrians and Yemenis including Food for Peace which was started by President Dwight Eisenhower.

Instead Congress should ignore Trump's budget and raise funding for Food for Peace, the McGovern-Dole global school lunch program and other initiatives. WFP, Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children, Mercy Corps depend on this funding to feed the world’s hungry.

Writing letters to Congress supporting food aid programs is one way to help.

If you are an area business, organization or school you can do something to feed hungry children at home and abroad. You can start a fundraiser or use apps like Share the Meal or Charity Miles to raise funds. Students can use the educational online game FreeRice to help WFP fight hunger in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.

You can help end hunger if you are willing to take action like Lebron. Trump should learn from Lebron and get to work fighting hunger.

— William Lambers is an author who partnered with the UN World Food Program on the book Ending World Hunger.