Letter: Foreign aid is important

A letter to the editor titled "Opportunity for change" recently highlighted many new issues that Americans are facing today. Although it is heartbreaking that gas and food prices are skyrocketing domestically, I can't help but notice that the global turmoil occurring due to the pandemic has been long forgotten.

It may feel like the COVID-19 pandemic has been tackled and Americans can turn to focusing on other problems, the same is not true in other regions of the world.

In low-income countries, only about 13% of people have received both doses of the vaccine. The economic disruption caused by the pandemic has increased the rates of extreme poverty. Global hunger levels, which reached a five-year peak in 2020 and are projected to continue to stay high, make the food prices in the U.S. look reasonable.

The socioeconomic consequences of COVID-19 will continue to be seen for decades. Increased global poverty reduces the number of international consumer markets available for U.S. businesses. It also creates conflict-ridden zones filled with desperate people, which often catalyzes major conflicts. If the moral imperative is not enough to support global aid, then think of yourself, your economic prospects, and your safety.

The U.S. must continue to take the lead in helping those who need it the most, while also ensuring its health, economic prosperity, and national security. Congress must pass supplemental funding for international COVID-19 vaccine delivery and distribution globally.

We must call upon our lawmakers, such as Sen. Duckworth, Sen. Durbin, and our congressmen to lead the effort. In the meantime, citizens must support nonprofit organizations, like The Borgen Project, that work to prioritize poverty reduction in U.S. foreign policy.

Yes, there is an opportunity for change, but it is selfish for this change to solely focus on Americans.

Isabella Piekut

Park Ridge

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