Fifty million people in the United States along with one in four children do not know where their next meal will come from. One out of every two children, in particular, will need food assistance at some point. This documentary, A Place at the Table, gives a general overview of the issue by digging deep into the lives of these Americans who suffer to put food on the table every day.
Whenever I think about the reasons why Americans are going hungry, I right away think it is because there is a shortage of food. That is completely wrong. It is because of poverty. A lot of people in this country are forced to buy processed foods that are high in calories simply because they are cheaper. For example, three dollars worth of food can either get you some grapes, broccoli, and orange juice that equal 312 calories or packs of ramen noodles, two liters of soda, and a bag of chips at 3,767 calories. Of course we want to be able to purchase the healthier selection, but it is a growing struggle now-a-days.
The directors, Lori Silverbush and Kristi Jacobson, came up with the idea for this documentary after Lori mentored a young girl who dealt with food-insecurity. Kristi and Lori knew they had to team up and make others aware of the issue by filming real people with these devastating, life-long consequences. Take Part is an organization the documentary is apart of in a sense that it is a leading source of relevant news that shapes our lives. The organization’s mission is “To inspire and accelerate social change by connecting content to social action,” this means taking action.
The film is accurate after viewing real people being interviewed, but what do others think about the issue? In this article by the Nation “This Week in Poverty: ‘A Place at the Table’ and American Winter'” the writer Greg Kaufmann says, “This is happening in the richest country in the world, and the problem is only getting worse. Under President Reagan there were 20 million Americans living with food insecurity. We’re well over double that figure now.”
Overall, the film is very intriguing and well put together. The images are capturing and the the people in it are even more captivating. The sight of a fifth grader named Rosie in a classroom not being able to focus because she is so hungry is so painful to even think about. When talking about her teacher she said, “Sometimes when I look at her, I envision her as a banana. And everybody in the class is apples and oranges.”
Dr. John Cook, a research scientist and principal investigator at Children’s HealthWatch and Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, is an expert on the effects of food insecurity on children. He says in this article from Take Part “The Hidden Crisis in America’s Classrooms” by Steve Holt, that hunger’s effect starts can decrease a child’s performance in school, which is why improving school lunches is vital.
The understanding of this issue and film all together, can help us understand the mission of the NHNP. This film can help those in the Olney area of North Philadelphia improve their eating habits one day at a time by seeing those who struggle, unfortunately. Personally, I wish to see big improvements in the project. After viewing A Place at the Table, I believe we as a community have the power to make changes. The film itself is very strong, but the one negative draw back is that some scenes were lengthy, that’s just about it. Other than that, I would definitely recommend it to friends, family, and classmates. This is an issue everyone should be aware of, not just those who are living this lifestyle every day.