During World War II, American Relief for Norway sent donations overseas before the holidays to feed malnourished children living under Nazi occupation. When Dwight Eisenhower became president, one of the first things he did was start Christmas food packages for nations suffering in hunger. Ike made this a year-round program called Food for Peace, which has saved millions of lives from hunger.

Congress should take action this holiday season to further this tradition of feeding the world’s hungry, especially malnourished children. Both parties should unite and pass the Global Nutrition Resolution (HR 189/SB 260), which emphasizes U.S. leadership in feeding hungry children and breaking the deadly cycle of malnutrition. We need to increase funding for nutrition programs to meet the global challenge. As the resolution says “151 million children under the age of 5 in the world, or 22 percent, are stunted, or chronically undernourished, and in countries highly affected by undernutrition, stunting affects 1 in every 3 children.”

This damage to children cannot be reversed, so it’s urgent we act now to stop this crisis. Imagine whole communities and even countries where children face this horrible stunting. They cannot learn or grow like a healthy child. What hope does that offer for the future of their country? They will be more prone to illness. And if malnutrition is severe enough, they will tragically perish. How can we expect any nation to have peace and progress under the enormous instability of malnutrition? That’s why programs to fight malnutrition among children and mothers are crucial. That is why Congress needs to show unity in passing the global nutrition resolution.

As Rep. Jim McGovern has said about the resolutions, “It is critical for the United States to sustain our engagement on child nutrition and build on our success. This is the best way for us to show the world what America stands for and use our influence to make a real difference in people’s lives.” The world needs to know that the United States is going to make child nutrition a top foreign policy priority in the coming year. We need to expand our global nutrition programs and we need a unified, committed Congress on this issue.

Recommended for you