Viewers literally watched a hospitalized child die of starvation in the 1968 CBS TV documentary and the public was outraged. There were 10 million hungry Americans then, and now there are 50 million, in spite of good efforts inspired by the film's revelations.
When public pressure grew, then Senators McGovern (D) and Dole (R) joined forces to tackle this problem. The food stamp program was the highlighted result of congressional effort and for a time the problem seemed to be under control.
But the problem was not to go away. Please read why below the fold.
After McGovern and Dole formed a committee to study US hunger,
Dole later said, "What really impressed me were the field hearings, and you saw it firsthand and you knew it wasn’t something some network maybe dreamed up or whatever and found some isolated cases. I think we began to understand it was widespread and needed to be addressed."http://www.aei.org/...
But matters worsened in the conservative '80s, and now let us fast-forward to the present. Film makers Lori Silverbush and Kristi Jacobson have completed a new documentary that hopefully will have as much impact as the CBS film of 1968. The film is "A Place at the Table" and it will open in theaters this Friday (March 1).
Silverbush's husband, Tom Colicchio, is an award-winning celebrity chef. He testified before the House in 2010 on the Child Nutrition Re-authorization:
"What was frustrating was that in the original bill, President Obama asked for $10 billion over 10 years, a billion dollars a year. Rep. (George) Miller from California brought it down to 8 billion. It got to the Senate, Blanche Lincoln brought it down to 4 1/2. It had to settle for 4 1/2, but I think it was 2 billion or 2.5 billion that came out of food stamps. Essentially, you're stealing from dinner to pay for lunch.http://www.sfgate.com/...
"That was really upsetting, and they all patted themselves on the back and thought they did a great job. Yeah, they managed to get another 6 cents (per meal) for school lunches. That's what it amounted to. I think they punted. I really do."
Sadly, CBS could do a new version of that  documentary coming to the same, if not more dire and depressing, conclusions. Hunger is here, in a real and palpable way, exacerbated by our tough economic conditions and persistent unemployment, but worsened as well by the high cost of food, especially nutritious food.http://www.aei.org/...
There are now 50,000,000 Americans, including one in four children, who are hunger-challenged--17% of the population, according to FDA estimates. It is time for a new documentary to stir the population. Hopefully, "Place at the Table" can do that. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and will be ready for general viewing in a few days.