When they first see the videos, American viewers are appalled, shocked and angry that other nations like Germany, Slovenia and China would be offering humanitarian food aid to hungry children in the United States.  And so they should be.  As a man in one of the videos points out (in Mandarin),

The United States, one of the world’s wealthiest nations, still struggles with food insecurity. In this nation with a surplus of food, there are 49 million Americans impacted by hunger. Here [in America], many cannot afford healthy food to live productive lives.

He ends the video by saying, “China – let’s help America.”

Of course, there are no such humanitarian programs being proposed in those countries, or any other. It’s part of a hard-hitting media campaign started last summer by Great Nations Eat, a non-profit organization that is using an unusual and highly provocative ad campaign. The goal is to raise awareness of the fact that every day, one-fifth of the people in the United States do not know where they will get their next meal. In a press release, Billy Shore, founder and CEO of Share Our Strength, states the obvious: “That doesn’t happen in any other developed nation. It shouldn’t happen here.”

The problem can be readily solved, but since the majority of US legislators and policymakers are little more than gutless puppets to the billionaire investor class and global capitalist interests, there is no political will to address it. Furthermore, many communities in America exacerbate the problem by making it illegal to feed homeless people.

No wonder the United States has become the object of pity, scorn and even ridicule among other industrialized nations. It has now fallen to private, non-profit organizations like Great Nations Eat and Share Our Strength to do what our lawmakers willfully refuse to do.

Filmmaker Lori Silverbush, who was involved in the making of the documentary, A Place At The Table, points out: “In 1968, the CBS documentary ‘Hunger in America’ transformed the national conversation about hunger, and we all but eradicated it by the late 1970s. But we’ve moved backwards.”

Tom Colicchio, executive producer on the film, adds:

If you look at the public health issues the government has solved before like yellow fever and cholera…these are issues that we thought were just crises of the poor, issues of the inner city. As a great nation we resolved to end them, and we did.

Silverbush says, “Now, it is our turn. Great nations are capable of great acts. We have millions of dollars in donated media, now we need the powerful voices of Americans crying out for change.”

Since the end of June, Great Nations Eat has been engaged in an all-out media blitz across virtually every type of print, broadcast and digital platform, resulting in approximately one billion views over a six-month period. Campaign partners include the high-profile international advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty and numerous film industry, creative and marketing partners.

At the very least, this massive media campaign to raise awareness will serve as a wake-up call to the people of the United States – and at best, will humiliate and shame the politicians who have ignored the problem of hunger for too long.

Watch some of the ad campaigns:

K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues. In addition to writing for The Ring of Fire, he is the author of two published novels: Tamanous Cooley, a darkly comic environmental twist on Dante's Inferno, and The Missionary's Wife, a story of the conflict between human nature and fundamentalist religious dogma. When not engaged in journalistic or literary pursuits, K.J. works as an entertainer and film composer.