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Congresswoman McCollum's Remarks at the Congressional Hunger Center's Congressional Awards Ceremony

April 12, 2011

chc speechGood evening. It is such an honor to receive this very special award and the recognition of a community committed to ending hunger.

Thanks to my colleagues Jo Ann Emerson and Jim McGovern for their tireless leadership in fighting hunger. I also want to thank Ambassador Tony Hall and the board and staff of the Congressional Hunger Center for their efforts to make the fight against hunger a priority on Capitol Hill.

And, a special thank you to the private sector supporters of tonight's event, especially Minnesota companies – Land O'Lakes, Cargill, and General Mills – for their leadership.

It is my firm, unyielding belief that every human being deserves the right to be nourished, to have enough food to eat.

We all believe in freedom. We all believe in the inherent dignity of all human beings. We all believe in fighting to protect the most basic human rights that inspire dignity and elevate freedom.

Yet, when a family is hungry they are not free.

When a child or a senior, a community or a country, faces chronic food insecurity they live in a state of misery, not dignity.

All of us are committed to a world in which freedom includes the freedom from hunger.

We are all committed to a world in which human dignity is elevated because mothers and fathers have the ability to feed their children everyday with nutritious food and watch them grow to be strong and healthy.

All human, social, economic, and political development is built on a foundation of food security.

Whether in my home state of Minnesota or Washington, DC, in Guatemala or Ethiopia – access to food – nutritious food – is the most basic and fundamental element contributing to the success of a child, a family, a community, and the successful development of a country.

Most Americans have the luxury of taking food security for granted. And this is a blessing I want all Americans to enjoy. It's a blessing we must continue to share wherever there is need in the world.

We must defeat hunger.

chc groupWe need more beautiful, healthy, fresh affordable American grown food in our school lunch rooms, in urban markets, and available to low income families and seniors.

And, across Africa and Asia and Latin America we need to help small holder farmers grow more food for their families. We need sustained U.S. investments – public and private – in agriculture development, improved seeds and disease prevention, sustainable farming techniques, and the financial tools to empower women farmers.

My home state of Minnesota is a food producing state. Yet, in my congressional district there are hungry families. It's wrong and we must do better.

For families in America and everywhere else in this world where children are too hungry to sleep, to learn, or to grow – food security must be our goal.

As long as I am in Congress this will be a cause I will fight for.

Thank you again for this very special award.