Local church hopes film on hunger opens eyes


The documentary A Place at the Table, which deals with hunger in America, will be screened Sept. 13 at North Community Evangelical Lutheran Church, 114 Morse Road.

The free screening is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Two sisters, members of the church and residents of Westerville, arranged for the documentary to have a local showing.

"One reason I wanted to have it seen in Columbus ... that kind of film, a documentary, may not have a wide release," Mary Beth Ingram said. "It needed someone to step up and say we have to have a showing."

"One of our mission statements is serving the community," said LouAnn Crill. "We thought it would be appropriate for our church to open it up to the public and do a series in our adult-education program on hunger right here in our neighborhood."

A Place at the Table, a 2011 official selection at the Sundance Film Festival, was directed by Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush. It features Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges, who founded the End Hunger Network in 1984 with others in the entertainment industry.

"We are all too quick to judge people who are hungry or who are out of work," Ingram said.

"A lot of it brings out the plight of the working poor, those people who are making between $8 and $12 an hour who don't really have enough money to put nutritious food on the table," Crill said. "Without being prejudicial, it's people like you and me. These are not people who are living in ghettos. These are not people who are drug addicts.

"These are people who are working and not making enough to afford food."

For all that, it is not necessarily a depressing film to watch, Ingram said.

"I think the most uplifting aspect is this problem is solvable," she said. "There are so many problems we face where we either lack control or the solution eludes us ... This problem, much like the water crisis, which is kind of a sister issue ... you discover these conditions can be solved.

"It's not an abundance problem. It's a problem of our hearts. It takes our hearts to distribute things differently so everyone has what I think of as enough."

The film focuses on three people: Barbie, a single Philadelphia mother who grew up in poverty and is trying to provide a better life for her two children; Rosie, a Colorado fifth-grader who often has to depend on friends and neighbors to feed her and has trouble concentrating in school; and Tremonica, a Mississippi second-grader whose asthma and health issues are exacerbated by the largely empty calories her hardworking mother can afford.