Statement of Edward M. Cooney on the passing of George McGovern

Senator George McGovern was a gentleman for all seasons.  He was a man of peace and a valiant fighter on behalf of all poor and hungry people in America and around the world.

In 1968 Senator McGovern was watching a television documentary with his wife Eleanor.  The film showed an elementary school lunchroom and a young African-American child standing in the back, observing the other students eating their school lunches.  Charles Kuralt, CBS’s famous newsman, asked the child why he was not eating a meal like the other children.  The child responded that he did not have any money to purchase a school lunch.  Kuralt asked the child how he felt about this, and the little boy answered that he felt “ashamed.”  Senator McGovern turned to his wife and said, “We are the ones who should be ashamed, and I am going to do something to change this.”  The rest is history.  Along with his faithful Senate colleague, Bob Dole, Senator McGovern secured legislation establishing national eligibility guidelines for school meal programs so that every child in need of a school lunch receives one, and continued working to end hunger in the United States and the world for the rest of his life.

In 2000 Senator McGovern joined forces with Senator Dole and President Clinton to establish the McGovern/Dole International School Nutrition Program.  This nutrition program serves as a magnet to attract young girls to school, where they receive nutritious meals and an education that prepares them to make prudent choices on when to start a family and how to pursue a career.

Senator McGovern has served as an extraordinary role model for the Congressional Hunger Center’s Emerson/Leland Hunger Fellows as a leader and champion of all people in need.

For more information, contact:

Edward M. Cooney
Executive Director
Congressional Hunger Center
202-547-7022 ext. 14
[email protected]


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