Daily Show Part I
Daily Show Part II
Food budgets are tricky, but many people feel like they can save money on food and still eat pretty well. If we looked at the way the United States spends its food budget, we would find too much money spent on corn subsidies and direct and indirect payments to large conglomerate farms. We have matching issues of starvation and obesity.
"A Place at the Table," opening this weekend, helps us to visualize what it means to be hungry.
The statistics cited are startling: 50 million people in the United States, including 25% of children, don't know where they will get their next meal. So many wonder: where is the disconnect and why?
Since the economy is better than it was, society has less sympathy for those who struggle to find food. Then again, the invisibility increases because people are reluctant to admit that they are hungry.
Directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush take us to Collbran, Colorado; Jonestown, Mississippi; and Philadelphia to give us three stories about the different ways people are hungry in this country.
"This is really solvable," Silverbush said on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." "We know what causes hunger; we know how to fix it."
The film points out that hunger in the United States was pretty much solved by the late 1970s. The "Hunger in America" film that aired on CBS in 1968 is referred. Within two weeks, Congress passed bipartisan legislation. CBS followed up 10 years later to see that the hunger problem got better (yes in pre-cable news, TV journalists would follow up on complex topics).
Why did things change? "In a word, Reagan," Silverbush said to Stewart.
The directors pointed out that this country went from 200 food banks to 40,000 food pantries and banks, yet the hunger problem was "too big for those groups to handle," Jacobson said to Stewart.
They point out that 80% of people on SNAP are working poor. "Poor people need a better lobby," Stewart said.
The timing of the release of the film obviously wasn't scheduled as the same day of the sequestration, but the directors did point out that the government cuts means that 600,000 mothers and infants will lose formula.
The hope from the directors and everyone involved in the film is for as many people to see this film as possible. But the underlying purpose is to get people involved in helping those who don't have enough to eat, and getting people with food to be able to afford better choices.
At a dinner table around the holidays, we always say that there is room for one more. Well, America has a table and 50 million in the United States are looking for a place at that table.
"A Place At The Table" opens today in theatres. If you don't live near one of the theatres, the film is available on iTunes and OnDemand.
Editor's note: My plan is to see the film and review it for you in the near future. Feel free to let you know what you think if you see the film.