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Oxfam: Hunger the Focus for International Women’s Day in New England

March 7, 2011

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. - People in New England are getting an early start on an observance this week designed to draw attention to the plight of the world's hungry. A Hunger Banquet was held in Vermont over the weekend, ahead of International Women's Day Tuesday. Oxfam America is an organizer of the banquets, which the group says call attention to the role women play in growing and gathering food for their families. Several such banquets will be held across New England in the coming weeks.

The events give people a chance to hear farmers from the developing world talk about their challenges first-hand. Sarah Kallock, advisor for campaign alliances at Oxfam America in Boston. She says hunger is very much an issue for women who are the ones responsible for food production in many developing countries.

"Women worldwide produce a majority of the food and they feed their children and their communities and their families."

Kalloch says the Hunger Banquets are a great way to expose people to the challenges that struggling farmers face across the globe as Congress considers cutting programs that help.

"There are big cuts in the House budget for programs that support women worldwide to feed their communities."

Kalloch says there's concern that U.S. programs designed to help women increase production and battle hunger in the developing world will be cut.

The event in Vermont, and others scheduled across the country, are aimed at helping struggling women farmers move from daily survival to providing a better long-term life for themselves and their families.

Oxfam says that, with increasingly unpredictable and extreme weather hitting harvests, women face an even steeper uphill struggle to feed their families these days.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - NH