All Together Now: Sunday Suppers seeks to revive the lost practice of the family dinner.

Story by Dana HenryIt can be tempting to reduce the issue of hunger to a statistics game. For example, the 1st Congressional District (which includes Kensington, as well as parts of North and South Philadelphia and Chester) is the fourth hungriest in the nation, and in 2010, some 31.2 percent of residents reported difficulty feeding themselves or their families. That’s down from 36 percent in 2009, but still much higher than the national average of 18 percent.

But it can be easy to forget that those numbers represent people. And lots of those people have kids. When Linda Samost, a former chef and longtime program developer for the city, learned about the growing numbers of hungry children, she didn’t just consider food access; she worried about the lost art of mealtime. Her Sunday Suppers program uses weekly family meals to provide the Norris Square community with education and access to local, well-balanced cuisine.

Sunday Suppers (set to launch May 15) receives fiscal sponsorship as part of the SHARE program. They will need volunteers and supporters to get off the ground.

“For me, what seemed to be missing was the family component,” Samost explains. “There’s a lot of work being done around food access. There’s a lot of great ideas about putting fresh produce in low-income neighborhoods. The schools are doing amazing things, as well, but then the kid comes home and there’s no food or there’s processed food or it’s, ‘Hey, here’s a dollar. Go to the corner store.’ [Sunday Suppers] is an opportunity to really focus on the family and bring families back to the dinner table.”

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