It’s impossible to see “A Place at the Table” without being outraged at the state of hunger in America.
Our section partnered with a Lift360 Leadership Intensive group and other organizations to present “A Community Conversation: Promoting Nutrition and Reducing Hunger” March 19, 2015. The one and a-half hour documentary was the highlight of the event, which drew 50-60 people, many leaders in the non-profit community. Corporate sponsor Hannaford provided snacks. NCJW provided publicity and helped line up “Catching Health” blogger Diane Atwood to moderate a panel discussion.
The film makes a powerful argument that food policy must change to reverse the growth of hunger in America. It dispenses with the myth that the hungry are lazy, and addresses food insecurity in both urban and rural communities.
After the screening, a panel of Shannon Coffin from Good Shepherd Food Bank, Hannaford’s Julie Greene, Michelle Lamm from Preble Street’s Maine Hunger Initiative, and Barbara Nichols of the Westbrook School Department emphasized the importance of putting pressure on both state and federal legislators by writing them. They also said the most effective way to get legislators to listen would be to bring SNAP (food stamp) and food pantry users to the statehouse. The film drove home the dilemma of parents who obtain a minimum wage job only to loose their SNAP benefits, leaving the employee and his or her kids without enough funds to buy food.
Other sponsors of the event included the Westbrook Community Center, which provided the venue, Good Shepherd Food Bank, and Preble Street. The event was part of our section’s year-long focus on food insecurity in Maine. We feel it is a disgrace that people don’t have enough nourishing food in our state, home to award-winning restaurants and a thriving locavore movement.