Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer has announced that more than 72,000 tons of agricultural commodities, valued at nearly $100 million, will be allocated under the U.S. Department of Agriculture's McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program for fiscal year 2009 as funds become available.

This assistance will benefit children, women, and school communities in 15 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

"The McGovern-Dole program has touched the lives of millions of the world's children, providing nutritious meals so they can focus on their studies, not their hunger," said Schafer. "I am proud of the United States' commitment to feeding a hungry world."

The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program announcement will feed nearly 500,000 children in new programs in three developing countries in addition to recent allocations to more than 3 million children in 12 countries. The program helps support education, child development, and food security in low-income, food-deficit countries that are committed to universal education. It provides for donations of U.S. agricultural products, as well as financial and technical assistance for school feeding and maternal and child nutrition projects.

To date, the McGovern-Dole program has provided meals to more than 22 million children in 41 countries and boosted school attendance by an estimated 14 percent overall, and by 17 percent for girls.

The program is named in honor of Ambassador and former Senator George McGovern and former Senator Robert Dole for their tireless efforts to encourage a global commitment to school feeding and child nutrition.

In October of 2008, both men were recognized by the World Food Prize for their leadership in forging the link between the productivity of American farmers and the needs of hungry children around the world.

The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program is administered by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service.