In May 1968, CBS aired a 50-minute documentary titled Hunger in America, exposing for the first time the impoverished reality of ten million Americans to the mainstream public. The nation, understandably, was outraged, and Congress was forced to take action.
By 1974 food stamps had become a federal program, and by the end of the 1970s, the issue had been largely addressed. Millions of previously ignored Americans were able to get healthy meals through assistance programs. But Reagan-era budget cuts and a complacent public removed many of these protections.
Today 50 million Americans face food insecurity every year, and filmmakers Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush hope to recapture that missing public outrage with their new film, A Place at the Table.
Just like in 1968, there are things you can do to encourage Congress to take action and make a difference in your own community. On our A Place at the Table page, we give you the tools to contact your House and Senate representatives and demand increased funding for SNAP and other nutrition safety-net programs.
You can also utilize the first-of-its-kind National Action Center developed by Participant Media’s Social Action team and powered by Share Our Strength, and managed by expert partners, to find ways to get involved in your community. There are three really simple ways to find out how to help end hunger:
Users can then provide their zip code to receive a geo-targeted list of actions available in their own community, such as spreading the word about a school breakfast program or volunteering with a local food bank.
In addition to Share Our Strength, other organizations including Bread for the World, Feeding America, and Food Research and Action Center have signed on to help provide offline and online ways to end hunger.
Most importantly, see A Place at the Table in theaters or download it on iTunes, then share it with your friends and family. The more people know about this critical issue, the faster we can do something about it.
More on Americas Hidden Hunger Crisis:
• One in Four U.S. Kids Don’t Know Where Their Next Meal Is Coming From
• Tom Colicchio’s New Film Blows the Lid Off Hunger in America
• ‘Witnesses to Hunger’ Take You to Places Where Food Is a Luxury—in the USA
See previous actions of the week
Editor’s Note: A Place at the Table was produced by Participant Media, TakePart’s parent company.
Jonathan Harris is Participant Media’s Director of Digital Social Action. He previously managed online campaigns for the Participant films Waiting For “Superman,” The Help and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. See him try to be funny on Twitter @countrycaravan