Sen. Susan Collins recently met with leadership from the Good Shepherd Food Bank of Auburn to talk about the importance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a federally funded program that puts food on the table for Americans who can’t access it. I applaud Sen. Collins’ focus on feeding the hungry in our nation, and I urge her to also consider how she can address hunger abroad – worldwide, nearly 2.7 million children under the age of 5 die each year from malnutrition. We can change this.

Through a U.S.-funded program called Feed the Future, nonprofits, the private sector and academic institutions partner with 12 developing countries to strengthen their food and agriculture systems. They connect local farmers with improved agricultural technology and markets, while also providing nutritious food for their community. Since Feed the Future began in 2011, 9 million more people are living above the poverty line, and 1.8 million more children are free from stunting caused by malnutrition in these 12 countries. Together, we have made this possible.

Right now, Congress has an opportunity to continue the progress we’ve made in these 12 countries – and make these programs even more effective and efficient. But they might miss it if they don’t hear from constituents like us.

Sen. Collins was one of the first co-sponsors of the bill that authorized Feed the Future in 2016. Join me in calling on her and Sen. Angus King to show their support again and co-sponsor the Global Food Security Reauthorization Act (S. 2269). Let’s continue U.S. leadership in ensuring all children can access healthy futures and making hunger a thing of the past.

Carol Smith