A Place at the Table. One Nation. Underfed.

"50 million people in the U.S.—one in four children—don't know where their next meal is coming from, despite our having the means to provide nutritious, affordable food for all Americans."

So begins the synopsis of A Place at the Table, a film by Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush that draws on the story of a single mother who grew up in poverty and is trying to provide a better life for her own children; a fifth grade student who depends on friends and neighbors to feed her; and a second grade student whose health issues are exacerbated by her poor diet.

The film is laced with insights from hunger, nutrition, and obesity experts and policy leaders as well as culinary experts and activists, like Oscar-winning actor Jeff Bridges.

Jeff Bridges in A PLACE AT THE TABLE, a Magnolia Pictures release. (Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.)

Food Insecurity in King County

In King County, more people than ever before rely on food banks to feed their families. An average of 10,000 King County residents apply for food stamps each month. One in 20 county residents is enrolled in the state's Basic Food program. More information about food hardship in King County is available in Adequate Food in King County, a report by Communities Count (February 2012).

To reduce hunger and promote healthy aging among older adults and individuals with disabilities, Aging and Disability Services—the Area Agency on Aging for Seattle-King County—has embarked on a number of food and nutrition initiatives with community partners:

  • Community Meals: Congregate meal programs help meet the dietary needs of adults 60 years and older by providing nutritionally sound meals in a group setting. Nutrition education and social and fitness activities are also provided. For a list of ADS-funded meal sites, click here.
  • Farm to Table: To improve access to healthy food, especially fresh fruit and vegetables, the Farm to Table Partnership connects senior meal and childcare programs with local farms. By making fresh produce more affordable and easier to access, the partnership's goal is to increase the health and well-being of our community's most vulnerable populations. For more information, click here.
  • Home Delivered Meals: Aging and Disability Services funds Meals on Wheels (Senior Services) as well as home-delivered meal programs run by Lifelong/Chicken Soup Brigade and El Centro de la Raza. These programs are a lifeline for homebound residents who might otherwise require costly institutional care.
  • Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program: The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program enhances access to fresh fruits and vegetables for seniors and supports local sustainable agriculture. Each summer, one-time market vouchers are provided to 2,000 low-income seniors. Baskets of fresh produce are delivered to homebound seniors and include newsletters with information about unfamiliar foods, recipes, and information about the farmers. Although the 2014 application period is now closed, you can read about the programs in Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for Low-Income Seniors (AgeWise King County, May 2014) or click here.

An Invitation

We invite you to learn what you can do to solve hunger in our area. Join the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services when it screens A Place at the Table at their June 13, 2014 meeting (11:45 a.m. in the Seattle Municipal Tower, Room 4060). For more information, visit www.agingkingcounty.org/advisory-council or contact Gigi Meinig (gigi.meinig@seattle.gov or 206-684-0652).

Read about United Way of King County's efforts to end hunger in their Hunger Relief Now! plan.

The Seattle Human Services Department invests funds in meal and food bank programs to help people who are homeless, homebound or have low incomes to meet their basic nutritional needs. Click here to learn where food banks are located in Seattle and King County, so you can tell others who need to know. Donations and volunteers are always welcome.

"Ultimately, A Place at the Table shows us how hunger poses serious economic, social and cultural implications for our nation, and that it could be solved once and for all, if the American public decides—as they have in the past—that making healthy food available and affordable is in the best interest of us all."—A Place at the Table

To watch the trailer, click on the image above (2 minutes, 26 seconds).

For more information, visit www.takepart.com/place-at-the-table