As a father, I know how much every parent wants to give their children the best life possible. There is nothing in the world like that first step, that first birthday cake, that first graduation ceremony.
But around the world, 1 in 8 people will go to bed hungry tonight and children are the most vulnerable. Hunger makes it harder for children to fight disease and survive. Malnutrition at a young age can have a devastating effect, impairing brain development and physically stunting growth. For children trapped in poverty, families may have to choose between sending them to school--or sending them off to work.
I believe that every child, everywhere, should have the opportunity to grow up healthy and strong.
That is why I'm committing to Live Below the Line for World Food Program USA from April 29 - May 3rd. Live Below the Line is a national campaign to help alleviate extreme poverty by challenging Americans to eat and drink for less than the global poverty line -- $1.50 a day -- as 1.4 billion people on our planet must do every day. Funds raised by participants this year will help the United Nations World Food Programme provide school meals that can break the cycle of hunger and poverty for the world's most vulnerable children.
School meals are one of the most effective tools we have to help promote education and address chronic hunger. Adequate nutrition and education are the keys to unlocking a better future, empowering students to achieve their dreams to become a teacher, doctor or entrepreneur. School meals and giving girls monthly rations that benefit younger children at home also help promote girls education, giving families a powerful incentive to send their daughters to school.
I saw firsthand how school meals can change the life of a child when I visited Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya, where families fled for life-saving help during the 2011 humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa. With your help, the World Food Programme reaches over 20 million children in 70 countries with school meals each year.
At just 25 cents a meal, school meals have the power to help solve hunger, by giving children the chance to learn, grow and reach their full potential. As we speak, Syrian children at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan are going back to school with the nutrition they need thanks to the support of people like you.
Next week, people are coming together across America to help solve global hunger -- from the dining room table to taking action online, from college campuses to communities of faith and beyond. I invite you to join us from April 29 - May 3rd, as we Live Below the Line, so that 20 million children around the world don't have to. Every $250 raised will help WFP provide 1,000 school meals to hungry children.