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Moyers: 50 Million Go Hungry in America

Debates on how to address hunger are filled with clichés about freeloaders undeserving of government help. But the documentary "A Place at the Table" paints a truer picture of America’s poor.

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MARIANA CHILTON: I would like to really draw your attention to the impact that the emergency food system has compared to the government food assistance programs. What emergency food can do is about this much, about 5 percent of dealing with the problem, this much. What does the federal government do with the nutrition assistance? Food stamps or SNAP it's called, WIC, Women, Infants and Children, school breakfast and school lunch, after school feeding programs.

Those programs we know make a tangible difference in the health and wellbeing of children and adults. So we know that if families are receiving food stamps or SNAP Benefits their cognitive, social and emotional development is better. We know that they're less likely to be hospitalized.

The same thing goes for WIC. We also know that WIC can reduce the stress that moms often feel when they're a new mom and they're very poor. So these programs we know have a tangible public health impact. There's no research that shows what kind of impact the emergency food system is having. We know that when about 30 million children are being fed every day in this country through school breakfast and school lunch, that is magnificent. And those kinds of programs need to be protected and to be promoted.

BILL MOYERS: Our conversation will continue in a moment, but first, this is pledge time on Public Television and we’re taking a short break so you can show your support for the programming you see right here on this station.


BILL MOYERS: For those of you still with us … as we’ve seen, it’s not easy making sure our neediest get the food their minds and bodies need. Several years ago, we visited an urban garden and farmers market in the East New York neighborhood of New York City. It provides nutritious, healthy produce to community residents who otherwise must travel miles to the nearest supermarket. And even there the choices may be scarce. Watch and listen…

BILL MOYERS on Bill Moyers Journal: The East New York section of Brooklyn is a cornucopia of fast and cheap food. […]

WOMAN on Bill Moyers Journal: The market is open!

BILL MOYERS on Bill Moyers Journal: But each Saturday, the East New York farmers market offers some much needed relief.

VENDOR on Bill Moyers Journal: That’s very good. Right?

BILL MOYERS on Bill Moyers Journal: The market’s appetizing array of food comes from just outside the city and just around corner. From sweet to savory, land to sea--

DENNIS DAVE CARGILL on Bill Moyers Journal: This is a baby blue fish. This tastes excellent.

BILL MOYERS on Bill Moyers Journal: --People say it’s worth the wait.

CLAUDINA WILLIAMS on Bill Moyers Journal: It’s a different taste. When it’s fresh from the tree on the table, it’s delicious!

SARITA DAFTARY on Bill Moyers Journal: We have a great market, and you know, I think when people come and visit us, they're surprised that it's here. They're surprised that it's in East New York.

BILL MOYERS on Bill Moyers Journal: Sarita Daftary heads up the market, started ten years ago by the non-profit United Community Centers. It’s been a welcome source of pride – and nutrients – in a tough neighborhood better known for its crime stats than its crop yields.

SARITA DAFTARY on Bill Moyers Journal: Food that comes from the ground that is in its most whole form is much better for you than food that's processed, or packaged. And food that's grown by small scale farmers, and especially organic farmers, tends to be more nutritious.

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