This piece originally appeared in The State.
Columbia, SC — There’s something about experiencing the pure love of a child that can change people to their core. For me, this change happened in an impoverished community in Kingston, Jamaica.
I spent a week volunteering at a youth summer camp, where I met children filled with more love, hope and goodness than I ever had before.
One morning, a young boy came to camp crying because his mother had passed away the night before. Not only had he lost his mother, but he came to camp every day clearly undernourished and starving. I found myself eating smaller meals and sending some of my share home with children in the evenings. It was a small effort to try to make a difference for these sweet children who had so little and had lost so much.
When I returned home, I became familiar with the Reach Every Mother and Child Act, which can help millions of women and children suffering from a lack of health care and malnutrition in developing countries.
Each year, 5.9 million children under age 5 die from preventable causes. That’s 16,000 children dying every day, nearly half of them newborns. The Reach Act would help prevent those deaths by scaling up solutions that work, such as clean medical tools and training for health workers.
I call on Sen. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott to cosponsor the Reach Act, because I know there are millions of children around the world like the ones I met. I can’t give away all of my meals, but we can all support legislation like this and make a greater difference in the lives of children.