Jonathan J. Halperin
Jonathan J. Halperin
Designing Research, Communications
and Strategies for Sustainability

Real Experts on Hunger

In a rare series of events on Capitol Hill yesterday, and continuing today, America’s real experts on hunger in America met with senior members of Congress and their staffs.

Five members of the SNAP Alumni network organized by Participant Media and The Marcus Foundation (with additional support from The Ford Foundation) in conjunction with the release of A Place at The Table, spoke to senior members of the House including Steny Hoyer (MD), Ted Deutch (FL), Jan Schakowsky (IL), John Conyors MI), Rosa DeLauro (CT), Bobby Scott (VA), and David Cicilene (RI).

SNAP Alumni on Capitol Hill.Members of the Congressional Caucus on Poverty (right)
meeting with A Place at the Table Directors Lori Silverbush and Kristi Jacobson
along with Tom Colicchio and others (left)

Excerpts from the movie were shown both to individual members and staff and during an evening screening. As continues to be the case in commercial theatres nationwide, and in more than one hundred community screenings, the movie stops people in their tracks. And key to that storytelling so beautifully rendered by directors Lori Silverbush and Kristi Jacobson are the stories of real people struggling with not knowing how they will put food on their table.

Steny Hoyer, House Minority Whip, watching A Place at The TableSteny Hoyer, House Minority Whip, watching A Place at The Table

One of those individuals from the movie, Leslie Nichols, a teacher in Collbran, CO, came with us to the Capitol and fought back tears while recalling her story of being on food stamps as a child and how she nonetheless fulfilled her dream of becoming a teacher. Equally powerful testimony was provided by:

In facilitating the discussion that featured not only these dynamic and powerful women, but also Top Chef Tom Colicchio and Representative Jim McGovern, I urged members of Congress to honor the courage of the SNAP Alumni as they debate and mark-up the Farm Bill this week and next. Providing temporary, short-term and very modest support to Americans in need is not an expense of the US government; it is an investment in people who are the backbone of our nation. Learn more about the SNAP Alumni network at

Full disclosure: I am a trustee of The Marcus Foundation which has provided funding to Participant Media.

A Place at the Table - Trailer

Jonathan makes connections that other people miss. Beyond an understanding of any single environmental issue or energy challenge, he knows how to use knowledge to drive change, how to bring the right players to the table, and how to reframe seemingly intractable problems to create space for new approaches. He’s a strategic thinker with a very clear sense of how things work.

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