Barbie Izquierdo and kids in A PLACE AT THE TABLE, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Barbie Izquierdo and kids in A PLACE AT THE TABLE, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

*America could end its hunger problem today if it really wanted to.

This is the reality made clear in a new documentary that examines hunger in the U.S. through the eyes of three people deep in the struggle.

“A Place at the Table,” opening Friday (March 1) from directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush, puts the spotlight on Barbie, a single mom in Philadelphia who was raised in poverty and trying hard to break the cycle with her two kids; Rosie, a Colorado fifth-grader who often relies on the generosity of her friends and neighbors when it comes to daily meals; and Tremonica, a Mississippi second-grader whose asthma and health issues are exacerbated by the largely-empty calories her hardworking mother can afford.

Jeff Bridges, a longtime hunger activist and founder of the End Hunger Network who also appears in the film, says the government could play a vital role in wiping out hunger in the U.S., if it would only  make it a priority.

“I got very excited about Obama when he was campaigning,” Bridges told us during interviews for the film Wednesday in New York. “He said we were gonna end childhood hunger by 2015, and that got all of the hunger organizations saying, ‘Oh, okay. We’re taking our direction from you now.’ You know, they got it all figured out. They had the big meetings and got all their ideas together, and now we have an even better plan. But I’m a little disappointed in our government for kind of not following through with that, and not mentioning anything about hunger in the speeches, or the State of the Union.”

one nation underfed

A scene from “A Place at the Table”

Chef Tom Colicchio, the film’s executive producer and a judge on Bravo’s “Top Chef,” took things a step further regarding his frustration with the government’s sluggish response.

“I think at some point, if politicians are not gonna get on board to either fund these [hunger] programs or focus on this issue, at some point they need to be labeled pro-hunger,” he said. “It almost has to happen. It almost has to be an embarrassing label put on you that hopefully then, maybe, you’ll decide you don’t want that label or that stigma, yourself, and you’re forced to do something about it.”

Below, co-director Lori Silverbush says government won’t act on hunger – or anything else for that matter – unless they are pressured by the will of the people.

“A Place at the Table” will be released theatrically on March 1, 2013, as well as on iTunes and On Demand.

Watch the trailer below.