Friday, March 01, 2013

A Place at the Table: Hunger in America & Beyond


Certain issues are very near and dear to my heart and none more so than hunger. Having worked in a homeless shelter, I got to know people who struggled to get enough to eat on a daily basis and it was an honor to be able to feed them. Ironically the homeless shelter I worked at was in a very wealthy county. But hunger is something that the richest and the poorest countries have in common and it doesn't just affect the homeless. And it will take public effort to make the changes necessary to see that hunger is wiped out. 

A Place at the Table, a film addressing hunger in the US is being released today, March 1. I got a chance to preview it and found it very moving with portraits of people struggling in our midst. It looks at just some of the reasons that hunger exists in the US. Perhaps not surprisingly, politics and subsidies are an important part of the picture. The film aims to increase our understanding of the problem it also points to some solutions. Though the current debate on raising the minimum wage is not part of the film, it's worth taking a look at too. Should anyone working full time making minimum wage still have a tough time putting food on the table? As taxpayers we are effectively subsidizing the big corporations that pay minimum wage in the form of programs like Medicare and food stamps. And we are subsidizing big agribusiness rather than family farms with farm subsidizes that do little to address hunger. 

Another effort to draw attention to hunger is Oxfam's latest research study looking a the policies of the ten largest food and beverage companies. They draw the connection between these companies who collectively make $1 billion dollars a day, and the millions of people in developing countries who supply the labor, land, water and other commodities needed to enable them to make their products and their profits.  

Solutions start with knowledge and taking responsibility---we all have a part to play and that includes our politicians and the brands we buy. I hope you will find a way to help reduce hunger in America and beyond. Here are some ways to get involved:


Contribute to the No Kid Hungry campaign through Share our Strength 

Change the way food companies that make top brands do business

I donate to my local food bank and ask family to donate to it instead of buying me holiday gifts, what do you do to help end hunger?