Dick Durbin’s Plumpynuts

Probably the strangest thing I didn’t expect in my email. Of course, I had to click and it’s for a good cause:

A two week supply of Plumpynut to treat a severely malnourished child: $20. Donate to Doctors Without Borders’ Nutrition Program today!

It’s that time of year.

Those of us blessed with everything we could reasonably want are asked by friends and loved ones what we “want” this holiday season.

It’s a little embarrassing to dream up another gift idea when our lives are so filled with the blessings and comfort of prosperity.

Does this sound familiar?

If it does, I have a suggestion.

Join me in making this a Plumpynut Christmas. A Plumpynut Hannukah.

Several weeks ago I watched a 60 Minutes segment by Anderson Cooper. He showed us children of Africa with swollen bellies, matchstick arms and legs, wide-eyed empty stares. He explained their likely fate of death in their mother’s arms. He told us of all the failed effort to save them.

And then he told us about Plumpynut.

This sweetened mixture of peanuts, essential vitamins, minerals and milk served in foil pouches has become a high-nutrient, high-energy weapon in fighting malnutrition. Mothers see their babies restored and smiling and growing and discharged after an average of six weeks.

Developed by researchers in 1999, Plumpynut is one of several new “Ready-to-Use Foods” or RUFs that can save lives. Right now five million children under five years of age die each year due to malnutrition-related illnesses. The increased use of RUFs in food aid and nutrition programs could have an enormous impact on these tragic deaths.

The cost for a two week supply of Plumpynut to treat a severely malnourished child?

Twenty dollars.

Twenty dollars: A night at the movies for two. A bad tie. More socks. A gift certificate for three lattes. A book you will never read. A CD you already own.

All I “want” for Christmas is Plumpynut.

And the satisfaction of looking at my wonderful family this holiday season and knowing they have joined me in doing one small thing to make this a better world.

I will do what I can to expand the use of this innovative treatment. You can help.

Please join me by donating as many twenties as you can to Doctors Without Borders’ Nutrition Program.

This program will provide Plumpynut and other RUFs to malnourished children in Africa, and will call on others to expand their use and save more children from malnutrition.

Have a Plumpynut Christmas. A Plumpynut Kwanzaa. A Plumpynut Hannukah. And a great Plumpynut New Year.


Dick Durbin
U.S. Senator