“There’s No Place Like the Food Bank” 2017 Humanitarian Gala March 24th 40,000 Monmouth & Ocean County Children Are Hungry by Calvin Schwartz 2-8-17(0)
“There’s No Place Like the Food Bank” 2017 Humanitarian Gala March 24th 40,000 Monmouth & Ocean County Children Are Hungry by Calvin Schwartz 2-8-17
I’m looking at the title of this article with hesitation. Have I committed ‘dichotomy’? On one hand, announcing and promoting a Humanitarian Gala at a Country Club and on the other hand, promulgating a disturbing statistic; an obscene amount of children are hungry here in Monmouth and Ocean County. My being here is to support and spread the word of the amazing work done by the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean County and the special honorees at the Gala who give of themselves tirelessly and endlessly to the cause of fighting hunger here at home. A Gala is a wonderful vehicle to raise desperately needed funds to do the work of feeding the hungry. Soon I’ll lay down some hard money facts.
Those honorees are: Rena Levine Levy and Steven Levine from the WindMill Restaurants, Members of United Teletech Financial, Board Chairs Emeritus, Junior Humanitarian, Dominic Esposito, and Agency Partner, King of Kings Food Pantry.
I’m not new to the work of the Food Bank nor honorees, Rena Levine Levy and Steven Levine. All of my writing and journalism comes from living and learning first hand. There is no other real way. Five years ago, I learned about homelessness, spending time in a homeless tent encampment 22 miles from Monmouth County. (Tent City in Lakewood) Frankly, having never seen this side of life, I was changed forever. How people (over 100) survived (not lived), in tents for up to 12 years without running water or heat or electricity is horrifying.
Concomitant with being homeless is being hungry. I soon discovered the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean County. I did spend several days there actually after Hurricane Sandy, learning, feeling, absorbing. To augment my understanding of hunger (in America too), I attended a program at Count Basie Theater in Red Bank called the ‘The Soul of Hunger’ which was a lengthy community dialogue about Hunger in New Jersey. The afternoon began with a screening of the film “A Place at the Table,” and later Governor Christie and restaurateur Tom Colicchio joined moderator Willie Geist from ‘The Today Show.’ Point being, (my son uses this expression all the time) talking about hunger is a good process but the FoodBank needs you all year. Again, I was changed forever as I learned about the insidious nature of hunger. Yes, our very neighbors could be hungry but would never reach out or say anything for fear of embarrassment which means their children are also hungry
“I’m walking here,” Ratzo said, (remember I’m a stream of consciousness writer). I just visualized Dustin Hoffman playing the role of Ratzo Rizzo in ‘Midnight Cowboy,’ a riveting film; it still bothers me. Rizzo was terribly hungry as he walked the city streets scrounging for food. Jon Voight (Joe Buck) in the movie crushed a cracker into a cup of ketchup and water for sustenance; just one of my images of hunger. I remember Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’ when the ‘Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come’ opens his coat to reveal two children who symbolize ignorance and want(hunger). And not much has changed since 1843. Actually things are even worse ergo part of the title of this article, 40, 000 children in Monmouth and Ocean County are hungry.
I know that honoree Steven Levine helped with food for people in the tents or after disasters as well as giving dinners in Asbury Park for the many needy. I’ve been to the WindMill in Long Branch when Rena and Steven fed a large number of needy kids from nearby towns. But it’s their life commitment to giving back and working with the Food Bank, planning events to raise funds and being involved and caring.
Perhaps the most startling statistic to share here is that in 1980 there were 40 food pantries in America. Today, there are upwards of 40,000. One in ten people in Monmouth and Ocean County use the services of the Food Bank. Remember my article title; there are 40,000 hungry children in both counties. Why so critically important to raise funds (and why YOU are all needed to help at any level) is $1.00 raised can provide 3 meals!!!!
Nothing is coincidence. I was thinking about writing this all day. A few hours ago, I watched World News Tonight. There was a segment on “Blessing Boxes” in a small Texas town. The box is set up on a street and people can drop off canned food, toiletries and other items for the needy. I watched a single woman with four children recently laid off from work use the “Blessing Box.” It was critical for feeding her young children. Hunger is all around and much too much in America at the advanced year of 2017. It’s so prevalent here in our two home counties so please reach into your conscious conscience and help OUR Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean County. These are different times. We really do need each other. And if you can help any aspect of the Gala, please do.
The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties website: http://www.foodbankmoc.org/
Here are the flyers and information on the Gala:
NJ DISCOVER LIVE RADIO/TV SHOW with hosts Tara-Jean Vitale & Calvin Schwartz TUNE IN/WATCH Monday April 11th 8 PM “TOUGH GUYS WHO ACHIEVE’ with very special guests: 16 time Emmy Award winner/ director GLENN HOLSTEN and ROBERT COZMO CONSULMAGNO, Marine, Bipolar Advocate, World Ranked Jiu Jitsu Fighter.(0)
NJ DISCOVER LIVE RADIO/TV SHOW with hosts Tara-Jean Vitale & Calvin Schwartz TUNE IN/WATCH Monday April 11th 8 PM “TOUGH GUYS WHO ACHIEVE’ with very special guests: 16 time Emmy Award winner/ director GLENN HOLSTEN and ROBERT COZMO CONSULMAGNO, Marine, Bipolar Advocate, World Ranked Jiu Jitsu Fighter.
Show Note: We are thrilled to bring these fascinating, dynamic, accomplished guests to NJ Discover for an hour of introspection, motivation, drive and achievement. A very special hour especially for young and old viewers and everyone in between.
TUNE IN: www.njdiscover.com Monday April 11th 8PM
THE SHOW ALSO AIRS ON LONG BRANCH COMMUNITY ACCESS TV CHANNEL 20 EVERY NIGHT 9 pm Beginning April 18th
INTRODUCING GLENN HOLSTEN:
Glenn Holsten is an award-winning director who creates compelling documentary story experiences for screens of all sizes – from the IMAX to the iPhone.
His latest documentary, Hollywood Beauty Salon, portrays life at an intimate beauty parlor inside of the Germantown Recovery Community, a non-profit mental health program in Philadelphia, where staff and clients alike are in the process of recovery. By gathering together to get their hair done, share stories, and support one another, they find a way to rebuild their lives. Hollywood Beauty Salon will have a theatrical release in New York City and Philadelphia in June 2016.
The Barefoot Artist, about global artist Lily Yeh, was filmed on four continents and had its theatrical premiere in New York and Los Angeles in December, 2014 and is currently available on Netflix. His most recent national broadcast on PBS, The Barnes Collection, follows Dr. Albert Barnes’ remarkable rise from Philadelphia’s working-class neighborhood to the top of the modern art world. SEE, a film that he created in collaboration with painters Bo Bartlett and Betsy Eby premiered at the Camden Film Festival in 2013.
He directed an eight-part series titled Women In Chemistry, about pioneering women chemists for the Chemical Heritage Foundation. Women In Chemistry appeared on public television as a one-hour television special, as will Scientists You Must Know, a documentary about the people behind the discoveries that changed our world.
Other long-form documentary directing credits include OC87: The Obsessive-Compulsive, Major Depression, Bipolar, Asperger’s Movie, (theatrical release, 2012, Netflix); Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958-1968, (OVATION, 2010); Saint of 9/11, about Father Mychal Judge, the beloved chaplain to the NYC Fire Dept. (Tribeca Film Festival, IFC theatrical release, 2006, Netflix); Gay Pioneers (PBS, 2005); JIM IN BOLD, which harnesses the power of young voices to reveal the challenges and triumphs of being young and gay in America; Thomas Eakins: Scenes from Modern Life (PBS, 2001), a lyrical examination of America through the eyes of the 19th century painter; and HOUSE, a 30-minute film about The Korman Residence in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania that was famed Philadelphia architect Louis I. Kahn’s final residential commission.
He was commissioned by both The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Pew Charitable Trusts to create a series of moving portraits about artists and their work processes. Glenn is a recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, an Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts, and a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship. He has been awarded silver and gold awards from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for innovative television production. He has been honored with sixteen Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards. A collection of his work was exhibited in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s 20th Century Video Gallery.
Glenn has directed films in China, Portugal, Kenya, Rwanda, Northern Ireland, Poland, Bosnia and the Republic of Georgia. In 2000, he traveled to Mongolia, where he conducted a workshop for television professionals that explored creative methods for storytelling on television.
Glenn graduated from The University of Pennsylvania in 1984 with a B.A. in English.
LINKS: LATEST FILM: http://hollywoodbeautysalonmovie.com/ HOLLYWOOD BEAUTY SALON portrays life at an intimate beauty parlor inside of the Germantown Recovery Community, a non-profit mental health facility in Northwest Philadelphia, where staff and clients alike are in the process of recovery. By gathering together to get their hair done, share stories, and support one another, they find a way to rebuild their lives. The documentary-which was work-shopped at the Salon over the course of four years-is also part of the recovery process, and the subjects of the film played an active part in shaping their own narratives and determining their unique individual styles.
http://www.barefootartistmovie.com/ THE BAREFOOT ARTIST
A visually stunning and deeply emotional film, THE BAREFOOT ARTIST chronicles the long and colorful life of Lily Yeh, a Philadelphia-based artist who has committed herself to creating community-based art projects in some of the world’s most troubled areas. The film explores two sides of Lily’s life that are connected parts of the same journey: her international ventures helping to heal weakened spirits in communities around the world, and a personal journey within to repair her own fractured family.
GLENN HOLSTEN: IMDB http://bit.ly/1Ybkcv2
INTRODUCING ROBERT COZMO CONSULMAGNO
I’ve written often about ‘Cozmo’ since I met him last summer down the Jersey shore. It was, as they say instant chemistry. I’ll include links to NJ Discover articles and videos we’ve done with Cozmo; tantamount to a totally fascinating personality and a nice guy who fights. Glenn Holsten, also our guest on the show, did an award winning documentary on Cozmo, filmed in his hometown of Jersey City. ‘OC 87 Recovery Diaries’ Robert Consulmagno “The Good Fight” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMdOk8EgXtc
NJ Discover Video with Cozmo: http://bit.ly/200iCO4
In a composite nutshell; this is the stuff they also make full length movies about. I wonder who’ll play Cozmo? He was born over 40 years ago in Jersey. ” My biological father committed suicide by hanging himself. I’ve seen my first step father beat my mother. They were together for many years but never married but he also forced himself on her. He even threw a TV stand at his own mother; the product of a violent environment. I’ve seen him beat a guy over a parking spot. My first stepfather shot my second stepfather with a 22. Later the same day, he drove up to Mooanchie, New Jersey and killed himself inside of a Pontiac Bonneville with the same weapon. My first stepfather was the guy when my mother yelled, “Dad wants you,” I started crying. I didn’t know what was going to happen. That’s where my problems dealing with people and authority figures came from. That’s all I knew, how to survive.”
To escape, Cozmo enlisted in the Marines, honorably discharged five years later, but with severe PTSD and diagnosed bipolar disorder. He has notably become a dynamic spokesperson on his life’s mission to end the stigma of bipolar. Travelling and exploring America some years ago, with a permanent disability, he was approached in the locker room at his local gym in Florida and was asked if he evere thought about studying Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Testament to his drive and perseverance, he went on to become a world ranked, purple belt Jiu Jitsu fighter, channeling all that energy.
READ NJ DISCOVER INTERIEW WITH COZMO: http://bit.ly/1L7tDdr
COZMO CONTACT INFO AND PLEASE CONTACT HIM:
TUNE IN: www.njdiscover.com Monday April 11th 8PM THE SHOW ALSO AIRS ON LONG BRANCH COMMUNITY ACCESS TV CHANNEL 20 EVERY NIGHT 9 pm Beginning April 18th
THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS
NEOS ZOE WELLNESS CENTER
Cranford, New Jersey
THE FOOD BANK OF MONMOUTH & OCEAN COUNTIES
Did you know that 1 out of 10 people living in Monmouth and Ocean Counties receive food from the FoodBank? In addition to food, we provide services that help to solve hunger. It takes community support to build food secure communities. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of the 131,000 men, women and children who struggle with hunger.
NJ Discover Spotlight: FREEHOLD AREA ‘OPEN DOOR’ FOOD PANTRY & MORE & “My Hometown” Fund Raising By Calvin Schwartz April 8th(0)
NJ Discover Spotlight: FREEHOLD AREA ‘OPEN DOOR’ FOOD PANTRY & MORE & “My Hometown” Fund Raising By Calvin Schwartz April 8th, 2015
A few years ago, as a new journalist, I was taken literally into the world of homelessness a mere 23 miles (Tent City, Lakewood NJ) from my suburban Monmouth County home. Logically for me, what followed was a heightened awareness into hunger in America; I spent the equivalent of days at the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and attended a Red Bank seminar with Governor Christie on hunger. What I learned that day is part of my soul now; in 1980 there were 40 food pantries in America. Today there are 40,000. It’s pretty hard to comprehend or dismiss this numerical factoid. I’m actually at a loss for words every time I ponder the depth and gravity of hunger. Then I’m drawn to it with words that need to find a receptive audience. The issues keep finding me sometimes when I least expect it.
Last week I was asked to stop by a local elementary school and do a favor by picking up and delivering boxes and bags of food collected by the students for a local food pantry. Purely random, I picked the Freehold Area Open Door, close to my house and subliminally, the town where Bruce Springsteen was born. After four trips to bring food stuffs into the pantry, I asked to talk to the administrator. First up was Kathy Mueller, Advocacy Program Director who gave background of Open Door which is into its 28th year serving the community. Next I sat down with Jeanne Yaecker, Director, and Certified Volunteer Administrator. Internally I smiled; what was a simple errand had become yet another learning experience and opportunity to meet effusive, dedicated people. Next I toured the small facility and met the volunteer staff.
Open Door trustees are multi-denominational as is the community they serve. Everything is donated. The soup kitchen is nearby at St. Peter’s but they share volunteers and food. Open Door serves 375-400 households a month which translates to 900-1300 individuals; serious numbers for small suburban middle-upper income Monmouth County towns. They serve Freehold Boro and Township, Marlboro, Colts Neck and Millstone. I remembered what I learned about hunger at the seminar. It’s insidious. You never know if your next door neighbors are hungry. They’re too embarrassed to tell you. Open Door food packages are specifically designed; preferences are asked. Food provided is nutritious in the three to five day standard package.
I asked about other services of Open Door besides the Food Pantry program which is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at 39 Throckmorton Street in Freehold. There is an after school program for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders as well as a scholarship and emergency funding and advocacy program. SNAP representatives are there on Wednesday’s to help with food applications.
I accepted this day as synchronistic; it wasn’t planned or designed. I even had to borrow a sheet of paper to take notes. But it’s something that is so important for all of us; being aware then caring enough to do something. I worry about articles I read about social unrest and economic disparity impacting our future. I’ve attached information on fund raising efforts called “MY HOMETOWN” Please check it out. Also Open Door accepts food and money donations. For more information: www.freeholdareaopendoor.org
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