Thursday, November 15th, 2012
One in two children will need food assistance in his lifetime.
That’s what Bill Shore, founder of Share Our Strength, says in the upcoming documentary “A Place At The Table,” which I was fortunate to see at a screening last night. Directed by Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush, the film will come out in March, and you’ll hear lots more about it then, from us and many others. It depicts the stark and heartwrenching realities of the hunger epidemic affecting nearly 50 million people in the United States. Of that number, 17 million are children, an issue we explored in depth last year, both in an article and in a mini-documentary featuring a young mom in Philadelphia who, despite all of her hard work, can’t always adequately feed her small children.
As “A Place at the Table” deftly shows, we can solve the hunger crisis—but it’s not simply by donating to food pantries or working in soup kitchens. Charity is vital, of course, but it can’t be the answer, argue those who know this subject best. We have enough money in our country to fix this problem, so we have to change our laws to ensure that proper funding goes to the most productive nutrition and assistance programs. And this is where we can all make a significant impact.
A very encouraging program called Food Policy Action just launched, and it provides a scorecard for politicians based on how they vote on food and nutrition legislation. Sign up for notifications here so you can find out when your own representative is about to vote on an issue—and then call that rep and tell him or her that you’re watching how he/she votes, and keeping it in mind when it’s time for re-election. Lori Silverbush said that lawmakers have confessed to changing their vote on a particular issue after as few as six calls from constituents, which is proof that your voice matters. Please use it—it’s never been made easier to stay informed and create change.
Of course, if you want to go the charitable route, there are many great ways to do it. One is to support this year’s Hungerthon. Created by WhyHunger, which sponsors innovative community-based hunger organizations nationwide, Hungerthon is a month-long radio event that raises awareness and funding to help end hunger. A portion of this is through a charity auction. Some of the coolest items you can bid on include a signed guitar from Taylor Swift and another from Carrie Underwood. Admittedly these are pricey items, so you might consider donating $50 and getting an awesome and exclusive Bruce Springsteen t-shirt featuring an outtake from the “Born To Run” photo shoot.
If your family is affected by hunger, please check out our list of resources that can help.