A Talk on Hunger with Governor Christie

Gov Christie panel discussionFifty million people in the U.S.—one in four children—don’t know where their next meal is coming from. And that’s why Directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori  Silverbush created the film “A Place at the Table.” It is also why her husband, Tom Colicchio, Chef and restaurateur and Governor Christie, sat down with Today Show co-host, Willie Geist, yesterday to talk about hunger in New Jersey at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank.

As you may know, I am a passionate advocate for hunger relief. I’m the one taking notes and pictures at these events, embarrassingly wiping tears on my sleeve.

Daily living after hurricane Sandy was the first time I actually worried about where we were going to find food for the day. And, I can remember how all-consuming that was. I can’t imagine feeling that way on a regular basis. Evidently fifty million people do.

panel of photographersThe event started with an all-woman panel who are recipients of some form of State or Federal assistance. Their stories were sad, and hard to hear, and more people need to hear them.  The woman who was told her 10 year old car was worth $2000, so she doesn’t qualify for benefits. The American Vet who now can’t drive or work, is caring for her 6 year old with double kidney failure and is finding very little help. The single mom with five kids who is working full time as an OR nurse and relies on food assistance while her house is being embarrassingly on.  These are the real faces of hunger in our community.

As Kathleen DiChiara the Founder of the Community Foodbank of New Jersey said in her opening remarks. We on the front lines see who is coming for assistance, many are the working poor.

Obviously, no solutions to the hunger crisis were developed during these few hours but the education that the audience received was a big start.  I think we all need to remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the very bottom of the pyramid is food security. It is our most basic need. We all need this very basic need met, in order to focus on developing as humans and contributing to society.  It is incredibly shortsighted to believe that it is their problem, not our problem.

If you get the opportunity, please watch A Place at the Table and share it with as many people as you can.

To volunteer or donate to the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, The Community Foodbank of New Jersey or the Foodbank of South Jersey or a local pantry just follow the links.  We must urge lawmakers to continue to fund the SNAP program (formerly food stamps) and urge businesses to start getting involved. It will take all of us, Government, Non-profit and businesses to put an end to hunger and move our society to the next level.

Deborah Smith, Executive Editor JerseyBites.comDeborah Smith , Founder and Executive Editor of JerseyBites.com.  Launched in 2007 as a home for her growing collection of recipes, Jersey Bites soon grew into a hub for all things edible in the Garden State. In her spare time, (Ha) she works as a Social Media consultant and speaker.  You can learn more about her services and marketing through social media on her blog www.DeborahLSmith.com