Around the world, 746 million people live in extreme poverty on less than $1.90 a day, and nearly 1 billion people suffer from hunger. About 17,000 children under the age of 5 die from preventable diseases every single day.

Increasing foreign aid can drastically reduce global poverty and save millions of lives. It is a humanitarian imperative. It is also in the United States’ strategic and economic interests. Former presidents and other officials have all asserted how vital foreign aid is to national security. Foreign aid can prevent conflict, weaken the appeal of terrorist groups, and foster international peace and security. Helping people and countries out of poverty also strengthens the U.S. economy. By promoting the development of foreign economies, foreign aid creates new markets and consumers and increases the demand for American goods, creating needed jobs here at home.

Many Americans believe that the United States spends 20 percent of its budget on foreign aid, and believe this should be reduced to 10 percent. In reality, less than 1 percent of the U.S. budget is spent on foreign aid.

Increasing foreign aid would drastically reduce global poverty and greatly benefit the United States and the world as a whole.

However, the Trump administration has proposed drastic cuts to the foreign aid budget.

Organizations like the Borgen Project, a nonprofit organization working nationwide to combat global poverty, are fighting to prevent this from happening. But they need your help.

I urge you to contact our leaders, Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Rep. Chellie Pingree, to support the international affairs budget and increase funding to the poor.

Every call, email and letter our members of Congress receive can make a difference. Each of us has the ability to make the world a better place.

Laura Turner

Gorham