Starved: Our Food Insecurity Crisis
Directed by Beth Dollinar (WQED Pittsburgh) 2021
This documentary documents western Pennsylvania’s severe food crisis, stemming from the Covid lockdowns. An estimated 300,000 residents of the Pittsburgh area have no idea where their next meal is coming from. They include families of minimum wage workers, households trying to survive on disability benefits or experiencing wage cuts due to accidents or health problems, those quarantined for producing a positive PCR test* and those living in “food deserts” without a full service supermarket.
In addition to profiling two local families in this situation, the filmmakers also explore innovative volunteer-based programs dedicated to ensuring universal access to healthy food. These include a giant warehouse leased by a non-profit organization that supplies small “food pantries” throughout Pittsburgh, a hospital food bank that dispenses healthy food parcels on a doctor’s prescription, neighborhood community gardens, 40 farms and families with large backyard gardens who also donate surplus food to people in need.
*At the time this film was made, most laboratories were using a 40 cycle PCR (which is more than 96% likely to be a false positive result). In January the World Health Organization advised laboratories to manually adjust their cycle threshhold downwards where results were inconsistent with clinical presentation.