Remembering 2008 World Food Prize

This is the second time I attended the World Food Prize – the first time was in 2008 when former Senators Bob Dole and George McGovern were recognized as Laureates for their bipartisan leadership in the 1970s to reform and expand school food and nutrition programs.

Sen. McGovern’s name has come up several times during this event as the 90-year-old is nearing the end of his life in Sioux Falls, SD with his family at his side. It made me go back and look at my coverage of the 2008 World Food Prize and was surprised to see I took so many photos of this great man at that event.

He and Dole joked around quite a bit during the event. When asked during a press conference if he thought it was a good idea to provide cash instead of commodities for food programs, McGovern said it was a good idea, quipping, “I myself would rather have this $250,000 prize that Bob and I are going to divide than a bag of potatoes, so I’m a little partial to cash.”

You can listen to that press conference here: 2008 World Food Prize Laureates George McGovern and Bob Dole

As I read the news reports that Sen. McGovern was close to death, I was struck by the fact that his life was summed up by the AP as “the Democratic presidential candidate who lost to President Richard Nixon in 1972 in a historic landslide.” I certainly hope he will be remembered instead for the great work he did in helping feed hungry children around the world. It is fitting that his family this week asked well-wishers to send donations to Feeding South Dakota instead of cards or flowers. That request was made on Wednesday and on Thursday WDLT in Sioux Falls reports the agency was swamped with donations.

The agency’s Development Director Kerri DeGraff will remember McGovern not as a failed presidential candidate, but rather as an advocate for the hungry who “worked hard to talk about the issues of hunger, create awareness and let individuals know that it is a solvable issue.”

Our prayers are with the McGovern family and the Senator as they prepare for his passage from this world into one where there is no hunger.

AgWired coverage of the World Food Prize is sponsored by Elanco

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