LA Event Recap: Food Network’s HUNGER HITS HOME Documentary

By: Amber D. Wilson

On Thursday, April 12th, BlackNLA was invited to attend a special screening of the Food Network and Share our Strength’s HUNGER HITS HOME documentary, which offers a sobering glimpse into the child hunger epidemic taking place right here in the United States.

Along with approximately 100 other guests, we headed to the Director’s Guild of America in West Hollywood, where we gathered for an intimate cocktail reception and a first look at HUNGER HITS HOME.

The documentary follows three American families during their firsthand experiences with child hunger and shows how community activists, politicians and volunteers are all relentlessly attempting to eradicate child hunger in their local communities and nation-wide. It offered shocking facts – how 1 in 5 children battles hunger – but it also provided tangible solutions to help end this problem.

Both before and after the screening, we talked with attendees to hear their thoughts about child hunger in America and in Los Angeles, and the documentary itself. Here’s what a few had to say*:

Pat Neely, Host of the Screening and Television Personality (Down Home with the Neelys): “When you watch this documentary what you’re gonna be surprised about is the fact that it’s not the impoverished person on food stamps or living in the worst neighborhoods in the worst cities. It’s your every, ordinary person that is paying his mortgage, paying his utility bill, paying his car note, but by the time he buys prescriptions, school supplies, he doesn’t have enough to feed his family at the end of the week…We all need to be made aware of it, and we all need to understand whether we’re politicians, TV talents, cooking hosts – whoever – we can have an impact, and we can solve this problem by 2015.”

Gina Neely, Host of the Screening and Television Personality (Down Home with the Neelys): “I was very surprised to know that in America where it’s one of the wealthiest countries, that we had this problem. You always think of it as Ethiopia or Africa or somewhere else, so for it to be right in your backyard and we’re not addressing that, I have a big problem with that. So whatever we can do to bring awareness to it, I think it’s important for both of us and everybody else to get involved. It doesn’t take much. People think, I think, that when they get involved in charities they have to have this astronomical amount of money. One dollar. Two dollars. It does not take an astronomical amount.”

 

Jamie Freedman, Actress (My Wife and Kids, You Got Served, Johnson Family Vacation): “I think it’s honorable that they actually made a movie and they’re doing this to really raise awareness in our country, because it’s happening in our country. You think that it’s just happening overseas, not the U.S., and it’s happening here, right underneath our noses…I think it starts one person at a time…It’s all about what can you do today, as an individual. I think that’s where it starts.”

Porscha Elzy, Guest: “I thought the documentary was very enlightening. I think that it definitely shed some light on a subject that’s not really talked about… It really hit home to see kids at school and going to school just to eat. That’s something that I didn’t even think about. I think that that’s a big issue and I love that this film is putting it out there. I hope that everybody watches this documentary on Saturday, and spreads the word.”

The documentary airs this Saturday, April 14th 8pm on the Food Network, with limited reruns in the following days. We strongly suggest watching it, and we’ll leave you with a challenge from Pat Neely!

“The next time you go hungry,” Pat advises, “ you open up your pantry or you open up your refrigerator, and you pull out a container of ham and cheese and wheat bread and you make you a sandwich and you sit down and you eat, think about the person that doesn’t have that in their pantry. This is not about cancer, diabetes or any of those other serious diseases that I don’t take lightly. But I’m talking about a meal. And I’m talking about a meal for a child…”

For more information, visit: www.foodnetwork.com and  www.strength.org.

About the Author: Amber D. Wilson is a native Angeleno with a penchant for all things revolving around eating, drinking and being absolutely and incredibly merry. She  shares her passion with others through her own weekly blog, Wilson’s “Where To” Guide (www.wilsonswheretoguide.com).