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Jeff Bridges, long an activist for helping people who are hungry, is narrator of A Place at the Table, a new documentary about how to end food insecurity in the United States. The film will be screened Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, at 6 p.m., in the University Center of the University of Alabama in Huntsville. The showing, organized by the UAH Green Club, is open to the public. (Courtesy / Magnolia Pictures)
Terry Heights Farmers Market, just off University Drive at 1000 Meadow Drive, brings fresh, local produce within walking distance of medium and low-income neighborhoods in Huntsville, Ala. Increasing neighborhood farmers markets open to local farmers increases the nutritional value of food purchased by people in low-income areas while strengthening the local economy. (Courtesy/Simone Young)

That thing Jesus said about feeding the hungry?

The Methodists of the Northeast District of the North Alabama Conference are taking that challenge seriously.

It is the goal of the 86 Methodist churches of the Northeast District that our conference be food-secure, said the Rev. Dale Cohen, superintendent of the district that includes Huntsville. Cohen s remarks came during the discussion that followed the showing of a documentary on hunger in the U.S., that was held at in Huntsville on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013.

The film will be shown again Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, 6 p.m., in the , in an event that is open to the public and hosted by the university s Green Club.

By any accounting, the groups who are fighting to make sure that the people of Huntsville and North Alabama have sufficient and healthy food to be healthy people are taking on a cause that only seems to be growing.

The number of people in North Alabama who can t afford food is increasing, said Kathryn Strickland, community food security director for the , who co-hosted the event at Trinity and who will also be part of the showing today, Tuesday, at UAH.

Charity, like the donations of food distributed through the Food Bank and other food pantry organizations, is only part of the solution, said Strickland, echoing the point made in the film.

The fight against hunger has evolved from just feeding people to being pro-active, Strickland said. This solution must go beyond charity to eradicate the causes of hunger.

The causes include the relative cost of junk food to local fruits and vegetables and the real buying power of people working at minimum wage jobs.

Huntsville is already doing a lot of things right to turn back the tide of hunger, said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, a member of Trinity United Methodist Church, who attended the screening. Battle and others listed some of the local efforts: A summer feeding program for the city s children that fed 80,000 in 2012 and is expected to top 100,000 this summer; a network of community gardens growing across Huntsville; proliferating farmer s markets supported by area congregations that are open only to farmers who live within an hour s drive of Huntsville; and efforts to lobby state and national legislators for policies that help the hungry.

Call your legislators, Strickland said. They don t hear from enough people. If they get five calls about an issue, it s a movement.

Other groups interested in showing the film can contact the , which has purchased screening rights to the film, at 256-539-2256, extension 107, or email Anita Daniel at .

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