George McGovern, a one-time presidential contender and a leading advocate for reducing world hunger, will appear in St. Paul today to kick off a Minnesota campaign against hunger.

McGovern will speak at a 12:30 p.m. rally at Como Lakeside Pavilion, 1360 N. Lexington Pkwy.

The rally sponsor, Hunger Solutions Minnesota, said the event will represent the beginning of a movement called Voice of Hunger Network that has members in Minnesota cities from Battle Lake to Winona.

Visits to food shelves have doubled and tripled in recent years as gasoline and food prices climb and more people lose their jobs. One in 17 Minnesotans rely on food shelves, said Jill Hiebert, a spokesman for Hunger Solutions Minnesota. More people receive food stamps and more poverty is evident throughout the state, she said.

McGovern, 86, was a longtime senator from South Dakota. He ran against Richard Nixon in 1972 for the presidency on a platform opposing the Vietnam War.

Kevin Giles