by Rachel Rubin, Project Open Hand’s Director of Annual Giving

We talk a lot about food justice at Project Open Hand. It’s a pretty basic concept – the right food for the right people in the right amount. It’s a guiding principle here, not just in shaping the work we do, but how we do it. And whenever I think about food justice, I’m always reminded of the legacy and leadership of George McGovern.

George McGovern was the U.N. World Food Program's first global ambassador against hunger

When McGovern died this past weekend, we heard about his nearly 25 years in the House and Senate and the influence his presidential campaign had on our country. But it was his work as the first director of the Food for Peace program that I think was most meaningful.

In just one year, McGovern lead efforts that fed more than ten million people in over a dozen countries. Long before school lunch programs were politically trendy, he started a school-lunch program in India that fed a fifth of the children in that country, encouraging access to education through a nutritional incentive.

McGovern lobbied and helped create the United Nation’s World Food Program, which has become today’s largest humanitarian agency, fighting hunger worldwide. McGovern inspired the whole world to think about food in a new way and the whole world is still better off because of it.

I don’t know if McGovern knew about Project Open Hand, but I’d like to think he would have been as proud of the work we’re doing here in the Bay Area as we are by the work he did globally.

Photo credit:  World Food Program

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