The United States has the technology to end world hunger but lacks the political will to do it, according to a grass-roots lobbying organization bringing pressure on officials and private citizens worldwide.
RESULTS was founded in 1980 by a handful of people who were concerned about hunger and poverty but didn't know what to do about it. Their first efforts took the form of a letter-writing campaign to congressmen. Today, the group operates in seven countries - including Britain, Germany and Japan as well 100 branches in the United States."The key to our success is a coordinated effort with other groups in the country," said Dr. Scott Leckman, a general surgeon in Salt Lake City who has become involved in the group. "Our requests are very specific. We identify programs like WIC (Women, Infants and Children) that save lives. Then we meet with congressmen, senators, their aides, editorial writers . . . anyone who can help educate people and get things done."
RESULTS founder and director Sam Harris, from Washington, D.C., will be in Salt Lake City Saturday, March 23, for a fund-raising program in the City Council Chambers. A social hour at 6 p.m. will be followed by a two-hour educational program. For information, call 321-7925.
"It's as if there's some kind of a tear between people and their government," Harris said in a telephone interview. " `I'm not political. I don't get involved.' Half the people don't vote. Well, in a way, a RESULTS group votes every month by writing, calling, making contact. We are used to contributing with money and with our volunteer time. But most people tend not to contribute their citizenship."
Congressmen Matt McHugh, D-New York, and Bill Green, R-New York, will introduce this week the World Summit for Children Implementation Act of 1991. In 1990, representatives from 159 countries held the summit to outline goals for the welfare of children worldwide by the year 2000, including immunization, education and the reduction of the child mortality rate. The congressional act would provide for payment of the United States' share of funding for those goals.
The Summit marked a new stage for RESULTS, which organized a worldwide candlelight vigil to coincide with it. Plans are underway for another vigil, to be called "the World Summit for Children Vigils '91: Keeping the Promise."
The vigilswill mark the first anniversary of the conference and hopefully keep pressure on officials to meet the set goals, Harris said. Churches will be asked to participate, and there will be coinciding school activities.