Fort Lee’s is joining forces with the Fort Lee Film Commission to make this summer’s remaining events into what they’re calling the “Canned Film Festival” benefitting the Center for Food Action (CFA).
Along with the Film Commission, Rev. Allison Moore of the Church of the Good Shepherd is asking that audience members bring canned goods or monetary donations for the CFA to the Sept. 1 and Sept. 8 musical performances and movie screenings at the .
Suggested donation items include canned tuna, peanut butter and hearty soups, and Moore says bringing “a generous heart to help people struggling to make ends meet” is also important.
In addition, Moore said, Good Shepherd will match up to $1,000 in donations to the food pantry in Englewood.
“[We] have an outreach budget; we know that people are hungry,” she said, adding, “I just think that a lot of folks in Fort Lee think that we’re pretty well off, and therefore we don’t need a food pantry, and there aren’t people who are struggling to make ends meet.”
“And there are,” Moore said.
She pointed to job loss and long-term unemployment, low salaries and an expensive housing market, unexpected medical crises and fixed incomes and increasing taxes for senior citizens as some of the contributing factors as to why “some people are poor in one of the wealthiest counties in the nation.”
Moore said a recent visit to Good Shepherd from Fort Lee Department of Human Services director Jillian Raimondo to talk about “why people are poor in Fort Lee” helped drive that point home.
“A lot of my congregation just assumes that people are poor because they don’t work hard enough,” Moore said. “But when Jillian can say, ‘Well, look, what happens when you are 55, and you are unemployed, and you have no medical benefits, and you have a major medical catastrophe?’ You can lose your house.”
Moore also cited women running away from abusive husbands and elderly people who have paid off their mortgages but have to choose between paying their taxes and buying food as further examples provided by Raimondo.
“And so her concrete examples helped people see that it’s not just lazy [people] who sit around and have nothing better to do than show up at the food pantry,” Moore said.
Of what she’s heard from her contacts at the Center for Food Action, Moore said, “There are former donors who are now recipients and that the need is up, but donations are down.”
Moore also said she continues to strive to find ways for the church “to be of use” in the community beyond simply inviting people to come to worship service on Sundays.
“The primary source for Fort Lee residents in need of help with food is The Center for Food Action,” Moore said in a statement announcing the Canned Film Festival. “The Church of the Good Shepherd routinely collects nonperishable food and toiletries for CFA; now we’d like to do more by widening the circle of contributors. Please bring canned goods … when you come to the movies.”
Moore said people can also bring checks payable to “The Center for Food Action” to the movies or mail them to the church before Sept. 23, “and then we’ll match it and send it in.”
Checks payable to “The Center for Food Action” can be mailed to:
Church of the Good Shepherd
1576 Palisade Ave.
Fort Lee, NJ 07024