Written by Mineola American Staff Friday, 08 November 2013 00:00
Mineola-based Island Harvest Food Bank and Cinema Arts Centre will present a special screening of the documentary A Place At The Table, followed by a panel discussion about the issue of hunger on Long Island on Wednesday, Nov. 6. The film reveals the realities of hunger in America.
The panel will include End Hunger Network founder/chef and food activist Tom Colicchio, U.S. Representative Steve Israel, Randi Shubin Dresner, president and CEO of Island Harvest and WCBS Newsradio 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs. The discussion will be moderated by New York State Assemblyman Charles Lavine.
One of the chronicled stories follows Rosie, a fifth-grader in rural Colorado who tries to concentrate in school, but hunger pains make it hard to concentrate. She dreams that one day when she has children that they can do what they want to do without going hungry.
Another tale showcases Barbie, a single working mother with two children. Her toddler son mumbles and has an attention-deficit symptom, presumably caused by hunger. It’s an emotional moment to see Barbie break down into tears in front of her kids, exhausted by the intense struggle to make ends meet.
Featuring Academy Award-winner Jeff Bridges and TV chef Tom Colicchio, the documentary follows people from a cross-section of America who are food insecure or don’t know where their next meal may come from. An estimated 50 million people in America are food insecure, according to Island Harvest.
“The stories of the people are not very different than the stories we hear about people struggling with hunger right here on Long Island,” said Dresner. “The faces of hunger on Long Island are recognizable. They are hard-working adults, children, senior citizens and veterans, people struggling to make ends meet and often not knowing when their next meal will be.”
The event will take place at the Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Avenue in Huntington, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to the event are $25. VIP tickets are $50 and include a pre-screening reception with the panelists, hors d’oeuvres, wine and preferred seating. The VIP reception begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at www.cinemaartscentre.org.
It is estimated that more than 300,000 Long Islanders — including 110,000 children — are food insecure, according to Island Harvest. Many are often faced with the unenviable choice between paying medical bills, rent and other obligations, and putting food on the table.
“It is simply unacceptable that more than 300,000 Long Islanders experience hunger on a regular basis, and most Long Islanders don’t even realize how prevalent this problem is,” said Congressman Israel.
Food pantries and other emergency feeding programs have become long-term solutions for many hard-pressed families. Each week approximately 70,000 individuals seek food assistance in Nassau and Suffolk counties through Island Harvest’s network of soup kitchens, food pantries and other feeding programs.