Thursday, February 28, 2013

A moving look at hunger in the U.S.

There's much that's alarming in the documentary A Place at the Table, a movie that deals with hunger in America, much of it found in the group sometimes referred to as "the working poor." A Place at the Table may be of special interest to Coloradans because it devotes considerable attention to Food Bank of the Rockies, and highlights the story of Rosie, an 11-year-old Colorado girl struggling with hunger. The movie also has plenty to say about "food deserts," -- urban areas where lack of access to healthy food is endemic. To their credit, directors Lori Silverbush and Kristi Jacobson don't shy away from political observations, examining problems related to the U.S.'s big-time food industry and its on-going preoccupation with processed foods. For me,  Jeff Bridges -- who founded the non-profit End Hunger Network -- makes the film's major statement. Bridges lauds charitable efforts, but points out that a problem of this magnitude -- one in four American children lacks healthy food -- only can be addressed by government. It's an interesting point to ponder at time when concern about government spending seems to be dominating the news. There's little question that it would take a massive exercise of national will to address this persistent problem. Do all of us care enough to demand that our government do something about hunger -- and food insufficiency (not knowing where the next meal is coming from)? Or are we content with the way things are? After watching A Place at the Table -- which gets for more specific and detailed than anything I can offer -- you may well wonder whether it's time that we decided.

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