World Food Program Thanks Pope for Commitment Against Hunger

ROME, DEC. 18, 2001 ( The U.N. World Food Program today thanked John Paul II for his commitment to the struggle against hunger.

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On Sunday the Holy Father applauded the agency´s project to feed schoolchildren, describing it as «very effective» in combating hunger among the poorest children.

The WFP has launched a global campaign to guarantee food and schooling to 300 million children suffering from hunger.

«School meals not only are an inexpensive program, but also the best investment that the international community can make in favor of the poorest children of the world,» WFP executive director Catherine Bertini said.

«Our experience has shown that school meals are fundamental to break the vicious circle of hunger and poverty,» Bertini added.

WFP says school meals help children concentrate in their studies, increase school attendance, and compensate parents who do not send their children out to work.

The WFP hopes to implement this project in Afghanistan, together with other U.N. agencies and nongovernmental organizations. Last year, 12 million children in 54 countries benefited from the program.

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