The Portland Council was the subject of a video produced by Brian Harris of the Portland Center for the Media Arts (PCMA). The video was released in late August 2015, and runs for about 3-1/2 minutes. The video provides both live footage and expert narratives from our Executive Director and senior staff covering our 3 major programs: the Food Recovery Network, the Mobile Kitchen and the Emergency Services office. * Click here to watch. *
Pope Francis is in Rome, but there are still people here in our community who need your help! Join the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) and help those in need!
SVdP is one of the world’s largest charitable organizations. It offers person-to-person service to those in need in 150 countries on five continents. The U.S. headquarters are located in St. Louis, Mo., and the United States’ membership totals more than 160,000.
SVdP provides a variety of programs to assist those in need. Each year, SVdP performs over 11 million service hours to aid those in need and serves more than 14 million people.
Nov. 23 & 24th Vincentians from Resurrection Church in West Linn distributed 230 Thanksgiving food boxes to families that would have otherwise gone without on the very important family day. Everything necessary for a nice dinner plus additional food was in the box. The volunteers also give each family a $20 gift card so they could purchase meat for their dinner.
Additionally, St. Vincent de Paul, Our Lady of the Lake delivered 153 Thanksgiving meals donated by the Lake Oswego Safeway.
A few days after the Central Catholic food drive ended 30 students from Mt. Scott Middle school plus 10 adults came to volunteer for the St. Vincent de Paul Food Recovery Network. The students spent most of the day sorting and boxing all 7000 items of food collected by Central Catholic. THANK YOU TO THE STUDENTS FROM MT. SCOTT MIDDLE SCHOOL.
The annual Central Catholic food drive broke all previous records. November 16 – 20 the students worked hard to gather as much food as possible, and of course one of the goals was to be the winner of the Cup O’ Soup Trophy. The senior class won first place by collecting 2,284 items. The sophomore class came in at 2,254 items. Overall more than 7,000 items plus $8,000 were collected. That food will fill 140 food boxes for families in need during the holiday season. A rousing THANK YOU to all of our supporters at Central Catholic High School.
George Winston, a well know solo pianist, performed at the Aladdin Theatre, 3116 SE 11th street Portland on September 10th. He kindly donated $900 worth of DVD’s to SVdP to be sold during his Portland concert. All of the DVD’s donated to SVdP were sold during his performance plus additional donations were received. George Winston donated all of the $922 to the SVdP Food Recovery Network. THANK YOU George Winston and crew! We look forward to your next visit to Portland,
George’s latest albums are: Gulf Coast Blues & Impression 2 – A Louisiana wetland benefit in 2012 and Love Will Come- the music of Vince Guaraldi vol. 2. He will have a new recording out later in 2015 Spring Carousel for a cancer research benefit
George Winston DVDs are available on Amazon or at www.georgewinston.com
A heartfelt thank you goes to the amazing donors from the Society of St. Vincent de Paul for their support to build a new Mobile Kitchen and continue to serve the hungry in our rural communities. We hope to have the new unit on the road in January 2016. The empty 2005 Blue Bird bus is on its way to the contractor who will be taking the insides out of the old bus and installing them in the new one.
Special thanks go out to these organizations, foundations, and corporation who have generously supported this effort.
Meyer Memorial Trust $125,000
Wal-Mart Trust $35,000
Clackamas County Small Grants $10,000
Spirit Mountain Community Fund $10,000
H.W. Irwin and DCH Irwin Foundation $3,000
Kinnie Family Foundation $5,000
Resurrection St. Vincent de Paul $ 6,328
Portlanders are used to seeing the city portrayed, for good or ill, in film and TV. But “American Winter,” a new documentary by Joe and Harry Gantz, paints a bleak picture of life here for middle-class families coping with unemployment, crushing medical bills and eviction from their homes.
The Gantz brothers, Emmy-award winners whose work includes HBO’s “Taxicab Confessions” and CBS’ “The Defenders,” worked with Portland 2-1-1, the social services referral line. They interviewed several families before settling on 10 to follow. Filming took place from December through March, with a quick follow-up in May.
Right now, “American Winter” is in the editing stage. The brothers are spending hours on the phone, trying to raise money to finish it before the fall elections. The brothers plan to post “American Winter” on IndieGoGo, an online fundraising site, hoping to raise $25,000 in the next few weeks.
Joe Gantz talked by phone about why he and his brother, who both grew up in Cincinnati, decided to make this film and set it in Portland. His responses have been edited for space and clarity.
Why focus on the financial crisis now? In some ways, it’s no longer news.
There is more and more need in this country. More and more families are slipping into poverty, without employment, losing their homes. But at the same time, all the political talk at the state and national level is that we have to cut budgets. The figures are in the billions: 10 billion, 100 billion, 300 billion. And there is no one to lobby for the poor or the middle class.
Why choose to film in Portland?
We didn’t want to use L.A. or New York and have Middle America say, “That’s not us.” We wanted to pick a city that had pretty good social services, to not pick a state that was notorious for being terrible. Portland is one of the better cities in one of the better states.
Was it difficult to find families willing to participate?
Almost nobody said no. Documentary filmmakers want to jump into someone’s life at just the right moment. When you are trying to get help, when you’re poor and just one person among so many, you feel powerless. The idea that your situation would get some attention empowers people. They think, “At least I am going to be heard, for once.”
What surprised you most as you worked on “American Winter”?
You don’t know what it’s like to be desperate to feed your family, to keep your electricity on, keep your water on, keep from being evicted. To go to sleep completely worried every night. Every day, to wonder what is going to happen if you can’t cover your bills.
We may think about people having a hard time, but to see the desperation they’re going through on a daily basis — it’s not what you think about when you think about America.
What is at stake now, with more people struggling to survive?
There are certainly long-term effects. It has to make it harder for kids to focus on school, to get good grades, to pursue a better life. They are least likely to graduate, more apt to have problems. But we wanted to make a film that would not be polarizing, something both sides of the (political) aisle could link into.
In the film, you interview government officials and social service providers about the problem of hunger. Did you find a solution?
There is not a solution, not one solution. There is a problem we can all agree on, and we have to come together for the good of the country.
Why do you think financing has been so challenging for “American Winter”?
A film that talks about social services and the poor, the working poor who used to be the middle class, is not a subject people are rushing to finance. But you can’t just say that we have to cut $300 billion or the budget will be too big in 10 years. You can’t have that conversation without being familiar with what it means to be those people most affected by it. The people making the decisions are, by and large, wealthy people.
Was it difficult to film people struggling and not reach for your own checkbook?
It was extremely difficult to watch families struggling to get enough money for food or even smaller things. We worked with a family whose kid was a great wrestler and invited to the nationals, where he might be noticed and get a scholarship to college. They needed $500 to send him to nationals.
We did pay families for every time we went to their house. We had to write a contract and pay them at the end of filming. We wanted to make sure (the payments) didn’t change them. It was not a lot of money, but to them it was huge.
Will the finished film be shown in Portland?
Definitely. We got $300,000 to start from the Paul (G.) Allen Family Foundation. To give money to a documentary when it is still just an idea is wonderful. You don’t have any guarantees. So we may do something in Seattle, but there will be a screening in Portland.