U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern's 5th #EndHungerNow Speech: A Place at the Table Social Action Plan
U.S. Representative James P. McGovern
"#EndHungerNow - A Place at the Table Social Action Plan"
March 13, 2013
I rise, once again, to talk about hunger in America and, specifically, the effort to End Hunger Now.
M. Speaker, hunger is still far too prevalent in America. There are more than 50 million people in this country who don't know where their next meal will come from. 17 million of those hungry people are children.
17 million, M. Speaker.
That breaks my heart, M. Speaker - especially because it doesn't have to be this way.
The truth is that hunger is solvable - we have the means, the infrastructure and the food to end hunger. We just don't have the political will to do so.
This point is delivered in a clear, concise and emotional way in a documentary that is in theaters now. Called -A Place at the Table,- this film, at its core, may be a simple story of hunger in America, it's really an emotional tale about how people are struggling with hunger in America. About piecing just enough together to make ends meet - day-by-day, week-by-week and month-by-month.
These stories aren't new and, unfortunately, they aren't unique. We don't have to look far to see a working mother who struggles to provide nutritious food for her children. We don't have to look far to see a young girl who struggles in school simply because hunger prevents her from concentrating in the classroom. We don't have to look far to see food pantries stretched beyond their means as they try to keep up with the demands of feeding the hungry in their communities. And we don't have to look far to see how often the hungry and undernourished are utilizing our healthcare systems for hunger- and nutrition-related conditions.
What is new and unique today is the platform through which we hear these stories and experience what the individuals featured in the film are going through. The stories told by the directors, Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush, weave together one heartbreaking history of how we went from almost ending hunger in America in the late 1970s to more than 50 million hungry 40 years later.
But this isn't just a story of woe, M. Speaker. For me, this is also a story of hope and optimism; a story of a difficult struggle, but a struggle fought with dignity. And it is a story that is part of a bigger purpose and goal - the goal to End Hunger Now.
At its heart, the point of this documentary is that we can End Hunger Now. And I'm pleased and impressed that a strong, coordinated social action plan accompanies the film. This comprehensive plan can be found online at www.takepart.com/table and I encourage everyone to take a look at this website.
Once there, people will be able to find important resources, including ways to access food assistance if they need help; an online gallery of artists, politicians, teachers, writers, and business and community leaders who once needed help through SNAP - the primary federal anti-hunger safety program; and a list of partners who are helping combat hunger through this film. Most importantly, it outlines ways that people can help make hunger a national priority now and it includes specific actions that people can take in their communities.
M. Speaker, we've had a number of strong anti-hunger partners over the years, but this is the first time in recent memory that there is a dedicated effort to end hunger tied directly to a mainstream film that is nationally garnering critical acclaim.
The social action plan is based on a simple concept - people will be moved by the individual stories and the facts about hunger documented in the film. They will be moved to act in a meaningful way. Through this website, people can take simple actions like contacting their elected officials or volunteering to work with local and organizations that are making a difference in their communities - organizations like FRAC, Feeding America, Share Our Strength, Bread for the World, DC Central Kitchen, AmpleHarvest.org, WHY Hunger, and Wholesome Wave, to name just a few of the 30 organizations allied with the film.
There is also a book that accompanies the film of the same name that explains the issue of hunger and goes over the many ways each of us can help to End Hunger Now.
As I've said over and over again, hunger is a political condition, one that requires action by concerned Americans. Over the past few weeks, we've seen how so many Americans care about this problem and want to be part of the solution to End Hunger Now.
And, I would, once again, urge the President to organize a White House Conference on Food and Nutrition to devise a plan to End Hunger Now.
M. Speaker, with partners like those behind -A Place at the Table- along with their social action plan, we can make a real difference. We can End Hunger Now.
I yield back the balance of my time.