America produces more food per person than any other country in the world. In a nation plagued by obesity, heart disease and diabetes, hunger shouldn’t be an issue. However, it’s estimated that 50 million Americans face hunger and “food insecurity,” meaning they don’t have access to enough foods that provide energy and essential nutrients. “A Place at the Table” explores America’s growing problem with hunger by examining those who experience it and why. One of the primary goals of the documentary is to dispel stereotypes about who is aided by food assistance programs. The truth is that hardworking people face hunger, and yet poverty is the primary cause of the issue. The documentary asserts that healthy foods are expensive, and the minimum wage is too low for individuals, no less families to have access to healthy foods. Approximately one in four children is experiencing hunger in the United States. In children, an inability to focus in school is common with hunger, as the character Rosie experiences within the documentary. The fifth grader sometimes catches herself daydreaming about food, only to look down at her desk where her teacher has suggested she write the word “Focus.” Hunger spans all races and religions. Food assistance programs provide an average of $3 per day, allowing those who use this resource access to only the cheapest foods available on the market, i.e. empty calories. A lack of nutrition education makes such starchy meals with minimal nutrition the normal expectation for many families. As the government faces recent troubles, with the most recent budget cuts and impending layoffs resulting in sequestration, the number of hungry Americans may continue to rise. In addition, government-funded food assistance programs will more than likely be affected by such cuts. For more information, download “A Place at the Table” on iTunes. Want to help end hunger in America? Check out these great resources we’ve found:
- The No Kid Hungry campaign was created by the non-profit organization Share Our Strength as a way to educate and provide access for children and their families to nutritional foods.
- The Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) works with the governmental agencies and private non-profit organizations in order to address the issue of hunger, its causes and potential solutions.
- Feeding America‘s food bank network provides food to 37 million Americans each year, a great deal of these individuals being children and seniors. For more information about your local food bank volunteer and donation information. Find a food bank near you.