By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published March 23, 2017
ROSWELL—Young journalists at Queen of Angels School took on food deserts and Catholic social teaching in creating a recently released video.
The five-minute video focused on food insecurity in the Atlanta area was shown at a special Lenten lunch attended by staff at the archdiocesan Chancery.
Food deserts are defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as people in low-income communities living more than a mile from a reliable source of fresh produce and other healthy whole foods. Two million Georgians, including 500,000 children, live in food deserts, according to the 2014 report, “Hunger in America.”
The video report was prepared with the guidance of Maureen Harkins, a longtime staff member of the Roswell school. Harkins is a paraprofessional in the school’s media center, in addition to helping produce the morning news program and the journalism elective.
The video was the biggest project to date of the middle school students. They started the two-semester project in the spring of 2016 and completed it last fall. A $300 grant from Catholic Relief Services helped get the video to the YouTube website.
“Some didn’t think it existed in America, in a big city. They truly had no idea,” Harkins said of her students at Queen of Angels. It was eye-opening for the students, many of whom are from upper middle class backgrounds, to learn how those less fortunate can have challenges finding fresh fruit, healthy lean meat and other healthy food, she said.
The video features interviews with advocates and ministry leaders sharing insights on the topic. The Atlanta Mobile Market, the pastor of Word of God Ministries, and the Atlanta Community Food Bank are featured. Father Llane Briese, of St. Theresa Church, Douglasville, brings a Catholic perspective.
He said as Catholics we are called to fulfill the corporal works of mercy to feed the hungry, ensuring people have access to healthy food, not fast food without nutrition and empty calories.
“A more fundamental problem, and maybe a little less obvious problem, is we believe as Catholics when God created the world, he created the world for the entire human family. We all have a right, not a privilege, a right to its resources,” Father Briese said.
To view Queen of Angels School’s “Food Deserts: The problem of food insecurity in Atlanta,” visit: http://bit.ly/gb-2n0eIdB