The Schmooze

Filmmakers Expose Hunger in America

Collbran, Colo., is the kind of all-American town conservatives point to when they talk about how great America is. The town doesn’t even have a policeman, for goodness sakes. It has a marshal. How much more all-American, Wyatt Earp can you get?

But as Bob Wilson, pastor of the local Plateau Valley Assembly of God, notes, his town is “close knit, caring yet almost desperate.” In fact, all of Colorado is desperate; the state is ranked number one in child poverty.

Wilson and several other town residents are at the center of “A Place at the Table,” a searing and sober indictment of a nation that allows its children to go to bed hungry. The documentary opens in major markets and video on demand March 1.

The magnitude of the problem is staggering. Fifty million Americans are food insecure and 17 million of those are children. Of all industrialized countries, the U.S. ranks last in terms of the number of people who are food insecure.

Filmmakers Lori Silverbush and Kristi Jacobson interview the usual suspects, like the heads of various end hunger groups. More effective, though, is the desperation that comes from the single mom in Philadelphia and the fifth grader in Collbran, who struggles “a lot [in school] and most of the time it’s because my stomach is hurting.”

The filmmakers spoke to The Arty Semite about how the film came about, misconceptions about hunger and the role of tikkun olam.

Curt Schleier: How did you become aware of this problem?

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Filmmakers Expose Hunger in America

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